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.” Luke 19:8
On my walk the other day I came upon a crooked tree, it reminded me of the Bible story of Zacchaeus. He had been growing in the wrong direction, but when he met the Lord, it changed his life and straightened him out.
Zacchaeus was a very wealthy tax collector that lived in Jericho. One day he saw a great commotion, as hundreds of people rushed past him on their way to the main road. He could hear them excitedly talking about the miracle worker Jesus, that had come to town.
Zacchaeus had heard many stories about the extraordinary rabbi that healed the sick, spoke with God’s authority and drove the religious leaders crazy. He too wanted to see Jesus, so he joined the masses as they hurried to the center of town. But when he arrived, he couldn’t see a thing, he was too short. There were too many people crowding the road, wanting to see their glimpse of the possible Messiah.
So Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree so he could see. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus come down immediately, I’m staying at your house today”.
Zacchaeus could hardly believe it, this important rabbi wanted to come to his house. The house of a sinner, a tax collector! Zacchaeus knew the people hated him, he was a Jew and yet he worked for the Romans collecting taxes. He had become rich from overcharging them. He could hear the people muttering that Jesus had gone to be the guest of a sinner. What kind of rabbi would do that? They whispered. Zacchaeus knew they were right, he was a sinner, but Jesus had chosen to come to his house anyway.
Zacchaeus had his servants prepare the very best of foods for Jesus and his disciples. He sat attentively by Jesus as He talked about God’s coming kingdom.
As he listened, Zacchaeus heart was bursting within him. This was no mere man that sat at his table, this was God’s anointed Messiah, the Lord himself. Zacchaeus jumped to his feet, his heart pounding, unable to contain his excitement a moment longer, and said “Lord, I give half of everything I own to the poor, and I will pay back four times the amount to anyone I have cheated”.
Jesus smiled in welcome and said, “Today salvation has come to this house”.
When we ask the Lord to come into our homes and into our hearts, His love will change us. Not just inwardly but outwardly as well. No matter our past sins, Jesus joyfully forgives us and welcomes us into the kingdom of God.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me, from all of my many sins. Cleanse me and help me grow straight, forever reaching upward to you. In your wonderful name I pray. Amen.