Luke 19:1-9 He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.
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.”
If you grew up in church you’re probably familiar with the story (and the song) of the "wee little man" who climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus.
Jesus’ reaction to Zacchaeus is typical of the God who cares for the people that no one really cares about [Proverbs 22:22-23 "Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the LORD will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them"], and who is often moved by compassion [2 Samuel 24, esp. v14 "...the LORD, for his mercy is great”].
He sees Zacchaeus (man in tree: probably difficult to miss) but does not continue to pass by, dismissing him as a tree-climbing weirdo or a tax-collecting sinner. Knowing exactly what Zacchaeus needs, he opts to spend time with him – although Zacchaeus is a sinner – and salvation ultimately comes to Zacchaeus’ house.
That Jesus came to seek and save the lost is more than bumper-sticker theology. That Christ Jesus, by whom and through whom and for whom all things were created, who "upholds the universe by the word of his power" [see Hebrews 1:3-4] should "come to seek and save the lost", is an attribute of God that should move us to love and praise Him all the more.
Pray this prayer with me:
Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus.
He is the good King: perfectly kind, just and merciful.
We thank You that Your gracious will was and is to seek and save the lost.
Thank You that You see and hear me,
and that You know me completely: yet love me still.
For the sake of Your good Name, please move us to have the same heart as Yours.
We earnestly petition and pray for salvation to come to those who do not yet understand the surpassing worth of knowing You, specifically [name/s].
It’s in and for Jesus’ name we pray.
[Image by Rev Henry Martin from www.freebibleimages.org]