Quest for Hope
A Surrendered Life 3-19-16
Yesterday, we studied a passage from Luke about God’s great love and value for humanity. Today, we will read about Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus and how a person who surrenders his or her life to Christ and truly repents is willing to embrace change in order to glorify the Father of Love.
Luke 19:1-10 (NLT) Jesus and Zacchaeus
19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Zacchaeus, a Jew and chief tax collector working for the Romans, wants to see Jesus so badly as he travels through the crowd in Jericho that day that he climbs a tree in order to gain a glimpse. We know Jesus is already searching for Zacchaeus—one lost sheep—because he knows his name. Jesus is deliberate about his action. Not only does Jesus reveal his value for Zacchaeus as he calls him by name, Jesus tells him he longs to be a guest in his home. Jesus extends Zacchaeus a gracious sign of acceptance before the listening crowd. I can only imagine how lonely Zacchaeus must have been, because as a pawn of the Romans he was perceived as a traitor by the Jews and shunned. However, Jesus knows the heart of Zacchaeus is wanting to turn from the world’s ways and embrace the generous culture of the kingdom of heaven where Love abides. We know from our lesson Zacchaeus repents and turns toward God as his mindset about what he values changes. No longer is he focused on the love of money; now he is focused on loving God and others.
Our lives are never quite the same when we experience the forgiving love of Jesus and Zacchaeus is an amazing example of a surrendered life turned around by grace. The hearts of the people gathered around Jesus reveal their spiritual dimension, too. They grumble because the Savior stops to save this corrupt sinner named Zacchaeus. Maybe they view his sin as unforgivable; but Jesus does not. From Jesus’ teaching we recognize God’s family should always be happy when another life has surrendered to the King of heaven.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for another glimpse of your Son of Love—Jesus—in action, today. I want to be quick to surrender to your will. As well, help me to live in a state of praise for every life that is changed by your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.