Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 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)
The book of Luke was written by a man described as the beloved physician. He portrays Jesus as compassionate and caring. Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Tax collectors then were looked on like traffic wardens today, they were feared and hated. Despite this, Zacchaeus had great status and great wealth.
Today, great pomp and pageantry surrounds the Queen wherever she goes. It’s almost impossible to see her through the crowds. Jesus was very humble but there was great fuss around him. People flocked to him everywhere he went. Zacchaeus needed to see Jesus but was too short, and was not able to get through the crowd because they would not give way to him. But Jesus is so compassionate.
My friend was talking to a sick Christian lady who said, “I am such a sinner, there is not enough grace for me.” My friend said, “Have you ever told Jesus to get out of your life and no longer be your Lord?” The lady said “No.” “Then there is grace enough for any sin, for those that belong to Jesus.”
Zacchaeus did not expect to get Jesus’ attention, he just wanted to see. But Jesus called him down and said he would come to his house. Suddenly Zacchaeus was no longer rejected. He was humble, he was not worthy, but he knew it and that made the difference.
When the Queen comes they line up worthy people to meet her. The people complained because Jesus was calling an unworthy person. When we come to Jesus the first thing we become aware of is our unworthiness but he restores us. Jesus turned Zacchaeus’ rejection to restoration and regeneration. The effect of Zacchaeus’ restoration by Jesus was that he made restitution. Zacchaeus showed the reality of God’s grace in his life by making amends.
Where do you look for your worth?
Jesus loves you compassionately overwhelmingly. He sees your pain, he knows your difficulties.
[From a sermon by Uzo Iwobi at Pantygwydr Baptist Church 3/11/13]