March 28th 2009

A Lesson From A Rich Man

...A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this 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 to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:1-10 NIV

Two weeks ago (the 14th) we read of the blind beggar called Bartimaeus. This week it is all about a short, rich man whose name was Zacchaeus. Both stories are linked. Each of them takes place in or near Jericho, the crowds are involved, and the timing is a few weeks before the crucifixion of Christ. In addition both show something about how the gospel of Christ is for everyone, no matter what a person’s status is.

Just like the people did not have time for Bartimaeus, so they also had scant regard for Zacchaeus. After all, he profited from their misery, or so they saw it. A man of questionable reputation, a sinner in their eyes. But Christ had something to tell them plainly whether they liked it or not. The message was that salvation was for all.

What is exciting is how excited Zacchaeus was. He doesn’t care what the people think. He rushes down from the tree and receives Jesus joyfully. And, as a result of Christ’s coming home with him, Zacchaeus decides to transform his life and make up for any wrongs he has done over and above what may be fairly expected.

It begs the question, doesn’t it? What do we decide to do as a result of inviting Jesus into our life and home? Our behaviour should change. Salvation has come to us and therefore we begin to act differently, going against the grain of our previous life, setting things right with others and looking for ways to give.

How has your life changed since Jesus came to your house?

Lord Jesus, come into my home just like you went into Zacchaeus’ house. Transform me completely. Help me, through the way I behave toward others, to proclaim how you have saved me.

Study by James Henderson

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