Tuesday, April 26, 2022

           The story of Jesus and Zacchaeus is one of the more engaging ones in Scripture.  You may remember in Luke 19 when Jesus entered Jericho and met Zacchaeus.  Luke tells us four things about this man.  He was a chief tax collector.  He was wealthy.  He was a short man.  And he wanted to see Jesus.  He was smart enough to climb up a sycamore tree to gain a good vantage point for seeing Jesus.  Perhaps also, as some have suggested, he climbed the tree to hide from Jesus as well.  There were likely some things in his life that he was ashamed of and he did not want to risk an encounter with Jesus.  Like Zacchaeus, there are attitudes, actions and behaviors we would just as soon hide as well so they never see the light of day or the Lord. But hiding never leads to healing. 
            Zacchaeus may have wanted to see Jesus but, equally, he feared having some kind of encounter with Jesus.  Much of this man’s wealth as a chief tax collector had come from often unsavory and less than honorable means.  He likely took advantage of people and did so with Rome’s blessings.  Frankly, he was a thief and an extorter of others.  There is no way to know how much guilt he may have harbored over his wrongdoings.  Or, just maybe, he was afraid that the Lord would call him out and confront him about his bad behavior—and on a public street in front of others! 
            Not long after entering Jericho, Luke tells us that Jesus saw Zacchaeus and called out to him.  “When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today’” (Luke 19:5).  The command was clear—come down now!  The reasoning was clear—I must stay at your house today. Jesus had business with Zacchaeus.  Amazingly, of all the places Jesus could have gone in Jericho, He chose to go to the house of this sordid and hated tax collector.  But, we must remember, that Jesus came to call the sick, the sinful and the misfits to salvation and to the Father (Luke 19:10).  Jesus used the word “must.”  This word, as spoken by Jesus, indicates an absolute necessity.  For example, we “must” breathe and we “must” have water to drink.  Air and water are essentials for life.  Jesus was saying to Zacchaeus that He absolutely had to go to his house.  There was nothing to debate or negotiate.  This trip to Zacchaeus’ house was no chance meeting or random decision.  It was necessary.
            Does Jesus have some essential business with you today?  Is there something you “must” do because you sense that God is calling you to it?  Do not neglect the essentials of your faith—Scripture, prayer, tithing, worship, serving and seeking to live at peace with others.  If we are attentive to the essential things that God asks of us, we will be blessed and strengthened beyond measure.  A little later in this story, we learn that Jesus blessed and changed Zacchaeus in an extraordinary way.  This chief tax collector volunteered to give half of his wealth to the poor and to pay back anyone he had cheated four times the amount of the initial fraud.  Then Jesus declared that “salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9).  When we open our lives to the business that the Lord has with us, life changes.  And the changes are always for the good. 
            Be discerning today and be honest too.  Are there some ways the Lord is working in your life to bring you to the business that He has for you?  Maybe you already know where God is working in your life and all you need to do is yield to Him.  Remember the words of the hymn, “I surrender all.”  We never want to allow unfinished business with the Lord to accumulate in our lives.  Lean on Him.  Look to Him.  And maybe, most of all, listen to Him.  When He calls you out of hiding or says He must stay at your house, then open your life to those special times and ways.  Do not neglect them.  When Jesus comes calling, what will you say?  Have a happy Tuesday!

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