Formost among them is Zacchaeus. You remember him, right? He was a wee little man and a wee little man was he? Most all of us know that song pretty well, and my deepest hope is that after reading the first line from the song just now, you’ll have the song stuck in your head the rest of the day 🙂
But I bet most of us remember more about the song than we do the actual story in the Bible. When we look at the story, there’s lots of things to notice.
Zacchaeus was tax collector, which means in this day he was despised by all, because he worked collecting taxes for the hated Roman government. It also mean that because of his power, he was a thief, he was able to rob from others under the cloak of tax collecting.
He was not a well-liked person.
Listen to the story, as found in Luke 19: 5-10:
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. “So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
And, so, it was very surprising when Jesus not only told Zacchaeus to come down, but told him that He would be coming to Zacchaeus’ home. Which is always a big deal. But in that day, it was more than a meal. Jesus is saying, but coming to his home, that he was worthy. He was loved. Jesus love him. Jesus saw his worth. In spite of all the rotten things Zacchaeus had done, Jesus still loved him.
That’s powerful. That’s awesome. Jesus loved Zacchaeus more than He disapproved of the things that he had done.
And then, we see the reaction of the people. They grumbled. They said why? Why would Jesus go there? Don’t they know that Zacchaeus is a bad guy? Not worth much? A liar and a cheat?
And Jesus responds that He has come to save the lost.
He came to forgive the ones in need for forgiveness. He came to save the lost.
How do we react to that? In our own lives? Are we willing to receive His grace? Admit our need? Find His love? It isn’t until we admit we need Him that we can find Him.
And in the lives of others? That person you don’t like? How do you feel when they receive God’s grace? The people grumped when Jesus showed Zacchaeus love. How do we react to grace?
Today, may we seek after grace in our own lives. And may we give grace to others.