And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost
First of all, it’s important to realize that Zacchaeus was NOT some cute little wee fellow; Zacchaeus was a monster. That was simply the nature of tax collecting in the Roman Empire. Nice guys went broke fast, and this man clearly was successful. Not only was he good at tax collecting as an individual, but he was the chief among the publicans. Zaccheus was not only bad, but he was the baddest of the baddest; Zacchaeus more or less ran a crime syndicate among his own people. That really makes this story all the more amazing.
We could talk for pages about this story, but as with the other Follow Me posts, I just want to capture a couple of easy thoughts that we can put to practical use.
Jesus knows who is seeking him, and He responds. We don’t get any information about what made this publican climb up that tree, but clearly, he understood his need for…….something he did not have. Jesus was NOT there, that that time and the place, by random happenstance. We know this because our Lord stopped in the road, looked up and issued His invitation to Zacchaeus. The heart of this man was made ready, through circumstances and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to receive and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Friends, if you seek honestly, Jesus will respond just as honestly. While the Pharisees constantly chasing our Lord around pretended to be seeking knowledge, we know they were not. Jesus knew the real deal then, and He knows it now.
Zacchaeus had a life that was immediately transformed. The honest truth is, that we don’t all have the same amount of baggage to unpack. We all don’t have a moment in a Sycamore tree or a blinding light on the Road to Damascus. Yet, any life converted by the power of the Holy Spirit should be a changed one, and the change should be evident. Quickly. I am not saying that we all become perfect, as that would be nonsense. However, we should both change, and have the desire for more change in the instant Jesus saves us and we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
My friends, if you are honestly seeking after Jesus, He knows that and will find YOU. If He does, and you respond, He will also change you. What are you waiting for?