Luke 19:1-10 ESV
“He 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.’”
This was another one of those divine appointments, like Jesus had with the woman at the well. This didn’t just happen. It was by God’s design that this happened the way that it did. For, God had planned to change the life of a man named Zacchaeus that day.
For, our Lord Jesus created us. He knit us together in the wombs of our mothers. All the days ordained for us were written in the Lord’s book before one of them came into being (Psalms 139:13-18).
He chose us in him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He saved us and he called us to a holy calling, not because of our own works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus BEFORE the ages began. For those whom HE FOREKNEW he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Eph 1:3-4; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Rom 8:29).
Zacchaeus didn’t just all of a sudden get curious about Jesus one day. For, Jesus said that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father first draws him to Jesus (Jn 6:44). So, Zacchaeus was there that day seeking Jesus because God the Father drew him to seek Jesus out.
God is always on time. He is never early, and he is never late. Everything happens in his perfect timing, according to his perfect will. And I have never been more aware of that than I have been the past 20 years. I see more and more how the Lord coordinates things and even the timing of things to coincide with each other to bring about his plans and purposes.
So, Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was going to be up in that tree at just that moment in time. He knew just the spot where he would find him, too. So, when Jesus reached that spot, he looked up at Zacchaeus and told him to come down immediately, knowing full well that Zacchaeus was going to do what Jesus said.
I don’t know about you, but I just love watching God work. I love watching how he puts things together and how he coordinates things for his purposes and for our good, too. I have “Wow!” moments on a regular basis when I see God’s hand in my life and in my circumstances.
He even has our opposition handled. He knows we are going to be opposed when we follow him, so that doesn’t take him by surprise. And he has given us all that we need to respond properly to such opposition and to not let it “take us out.”
And he prepared Zacchaeus’ heart in advance, too, for his opposition. For, when God is working in people’s hearts and lives, and change is happening, and they are now living for the Lord and not for self, and when they are now preaching the truth of the gospel instead of spreading the lies, Satan is not happy. And he will attack.
Repentant and Determined
Zacchaeus, thus, was not discouraged by his opponents. He stood strong in the face of opposition, and he declared strongly and openly his repentance and his determination to have his life changed from what it used to be. Instead of being a thief, he would now give half of what he owned to the poor and he would make restitution for all that he had done to cheat others.
And did you know that Jesus taught such repentance as necessary for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God? He preached that people must repent and believe the gospel. For, he said if we don’t repent that we will perish (die in our sins) (Matt 4:17; Matt 11:20-21; Mk 1:15; Lu 5:32; Lu 13:3; Lu 24:47).
He taught, in fact, that we must deny self and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, he said, if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) that we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die daily to sin and self and follow him in obedience) then we will have salvation from sin and eternal life (Lu 9:23-26).
And the apostles taught the same message: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Ac 3:19). “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you” (Ac 8:22). “…that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Ac 26:20).
[Rom 2:4; 2 Co 7:10; 2 Co 12:21; 2 Tim 2:25-26; 2 Pet 3:9; Rev 2:5]
And, in context, “repentance” is not a mere change of mind from unbelief to belief in Jesus Christ. It is a U-turn that you take on the path of life you are headed on. And now you go the opposite direction of where you were headed, which is exactly what happened with Zacchaeus.
And what did Jesus say to Zacchaeus after he repented? “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
He declared Zacchaeus to be a child of God and to be saved from his sins. But this “saving” wasn’t just forgiveness. This “saving” was deliverance from his slavery to sin. And he was given a new life in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
For, this is what it is all about. When Jesus did die on that cross, he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And he bought us back for God with his blood so we would honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15).
The Coloring Song
Sung by Petra
By David John Eden
Red is the color of the blood that flowed down
The face of someone who loved us so
He’s the perfect man, He’s the Lord’s own Son
He’s the Lamb of God, He’s the only One
That can give us life, that can make us grow
That can make the love between us flow..
Gold is the color of the morning sun
That shines so freely on everyone
It’s the sun above that keeps us warm
It’s the Son of Love that calms the storm
That can give us life, that can make us grow
That can turn our mornings into gold..
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