All the people saw this (Jesus befriending the tax collector) and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 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.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:7-10)
If you watch Hallmark movies, the main character often has a special place where their love interest needs to find them to apologize and declare love. It’s often in the beauty of nature where a person seeks to be closer to Jesus. My special place is on my back porch with a view of woods and a pool, listening to the fountain and birds singing. Zacchaeus’ special place is in a tree watching Jesus.
If someone sat in a tree above us, as Zacchaeus did with Jesus, we likely wouldn’t find him. But Jesus did because He came to seek and save the lost from an eternity without God and an unhappy life.
This story comes after The Parable of the Rich Young Ruler to confirm Jesus isn’t concerned with the condition of our bank accounts but the condition of our hearts. Even though Zacchaeus was wealthy, he wasn’t happy. He could’ve given half his possessions to the poor before he met Jesus, but his heart didn’t change until he met Him. Then, the money he stole became a burden.
God gives us burdens, challenges, and bad habits to grow in faith. There’s at least one you’ve tried to shed yourself and failed. It is God-given to make you realize you need God to change it. For Zacchaeus it was love of money. What is your burden?
We’re with Jesus in Jericho, only fifteen miles from our destination of Jerusalem. His other followers think He will save them from the Romans when he came to save us from ourselves.
Father God, through prayer you’ve helped me identify (or help me identify) the thorn I can only remove with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Have Your Spirit connect with mine to prepare my mind, emotions, and will for this upcoming change and challenge. In Jesus’ precious and holy name I pray, amen.