If anyone had a dramatic encounter with Jesus in the Gospels it was Zacchaeus. His reputation went before him as someone who gained great wealth at everyone else’s expense. One day, however, Jesus passed through his home town of Jericho and to ensure he had a good view of the procession, he climbed a tree so that he could see above the gathering crowds. What happened next was a shock to everyone – especially Zacchaeus.
Jesus stopped in His tracks, looked up into the tree, called Zacchaeus by name and told him to come down quickly because He was going to be a guest in his house for the day. Zacchaeus was amazed and excited and hurried down while everyone else talked about how disgraceful it was that Jesus was mixing with sinners. During this encounter with Jesus, however, Zacchaeus made a dramatic life-change. He committed to give away half of his fortune to the poor and to repay those he’d cheated four times what they had paid. It was definitely a day of surprises!
The sequence of this special day was simply desperation, love and surrender. Firstly, Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus – desperate enough to climb a tree. Next, he was confronted with the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus. The truth was that Zacchaeus was not popular. He was overlooked – not just because of his physical size, but because of who he was. But Jesus picked him out and this had such an impact on him that he surrendered to His Lord.
Money, which used to be his god, had become nothing in comparison to the treasure that he found that day. This is what Jesus is referring to in the verses above – that salvation had come to Zacchaeus that day because of his surrender.
Maybe today you need to ‘climb a tree’, in desperation, to meet with Jesus. Be sure that He will pick you out and show you unbelievable love and acceptance which will lead you further down the road of full surrender to your Lord.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you didn’t overlook Zaccheus because of his past and that you gave him a new future. Help me, Lord, to be so open to you that when you see me as I am, I will respond like Zaccheus to your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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