This week’s devotions are based on the Week 9 “Explore God” – Relationships that Matter! (WATCH HERE)
This week for our devotions, we want to learn from five encounters Jesus had with individuals during his public ministry. Each of the encounters gives us insights into the heart of Jesus and his love for people. Let us marvel at his heart. They also give us reflections to consider as we show up in this world as individuals entrusted with sharing the Gospel. Let us follow his example.
Today, Jesus interacts with Zacchaeus. Luke 19:1-10
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Jesus understood his mission from his heavenly Father: Seek and save what was lost. What an amazing part of Jesus’ mission to this earth. He intentionally came to not just do all that was necessary for our eternal salvation, but he also came to bring that truth to the hearts of people. Zacchaeus was the blessed one this day.
Here’s what I learn from Zacchaeus. He was short.
Ok that’s not the point. He was looking. He was curious and wanted to see Jesus. We know by the cultural standards that Zacchaeus was an outsider. He was a wealthy, chief tax-collector. These individuals were shunned by the Jewish culture because they were representatives of Rome, the occupiers of Israel. However Zacchaeus was curious. He just wanted to see Jesus…but Jesus had different plans.
God honored Zacchaeus’ curiosity with an encounter with Jesus.
The day was life changing. Salvation came to Zacchaeus through the words and interaction with Jesus.
So what can we take away from this?
People all around us need Jesus, but some have a curiosity to meet Jesus. Not everyone in the world around us is hostile toward the Lord. Some are genuinely trying to discover who Jesus is. They may have heard something about him or have questions about him, but just are hesitant to directly engage someone to hear about him. Zacchaeus would have been content to just see Jesus. But Jesus was not content to just pass by. Jesus was looking for those that were lost and on this day he found Zacchaeus.
Who is God putting around you that his curious, has questions, or just wants to get a glimpse of Jesus? I don’t know, but when I am more aware of and embrace Jesus’ mission as my mission, they will be made evident. Jesus is THE one who came to seek and save the lost, but now we get to be his representatives in our culture, in our communities to see the Zacchaeus’ around us who are not in the tree, but in the classroom, in the breakroom, in the community group, in the places we shop and in the places we walk by. Ask God to give you the heart and eyes of Jesus to seek those that are spiritually lost to give them the message of grace and forgiveness found in Jesus.
Apply: Simply notice people around you this week…perhaps God will lead you to a Zacchaeus.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for taking care to seek and find me and bring salvation to me. Empower and encourage me to carry the same mission! AMEN.