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Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Zacchaeus: Changed By Seeing Jesus

He stood there in anticipation.  He had heard rumors about this religious leader; one who had dealt so favorably with sinners like himself in the past.  Someone just like him, a publican, was even invited into the inner circle of twelve that had the opportunity to follow and learn from this Jesus – an unheard of proposition in his day and time.
Now it is his chance.  Jesus would be in his town and he saw the crowds forming.  But his stature limited his sightline so he decided to go higher – up a nearby tree so he could see this Messiah who had already changed so many lives.
Was his heart pounding with excitement?  Was doubt creeping in as to whether Jesus would even notice him?  Was his conscience agitated by thoughts of his past indiscretions?  Was there hope as he saw another former tax collector who left it all for a new life?  Could he be the next one?
Jesus walked by the tree.  He looked up.  He not only acknowledged this man, Zacchaeus, by name; he called him down from that tree and invited himself over.  Jesus, fully God and fully man, set his reputation aside directly in front of religious leaders to spend time with the one who they had rejected.  And in that moment across the table from Christ, Zacchaeus’ life was never the same.
We were all Zacchaeus at one time or another.  Some of us may even relate to him today more than we’d like to admit.  But there are a few things we can learn from this man whom Jesus sought out and saved (Luke 19:10).
  1. When people cloud your vision of Jesus, change your perspective. (Luke 19:3) Physically, Zacchaeus was unable to see past the people in front of him.  He wanted a clear vision of Jesus but wasn’t able to get it from where he was.  So he changed perspectives.  But for many of us here on earth today, we struggle to see Christ clearer because of the offenses and resentments dealt to us by the people of God that keep us from seeing Christ for the gracious, loving person he truly is.  If you have found yourself distancing yourself from Christ because of his people, make the choice to find the higher perspective.  Lead with grace, forgiveness and empathy and see how your heart opens up to both God and His imperfect people.
  2. Jesus has an intense desire to spend time with you.  (Luke 19:6) Jesus’ response to seeing Zacchaeus shocked everyone around him.  “I MUST stay at your house.”  There was an urgency in Christ’s plea that exists towards us as well.  For Christ, time with us isn’t a “have to.”  It is a “my heart will burst if I don’t.”  And that urgency extends to all people with all backgrounds… even you and I.
  3. One encounter with Jesus can change us from the inside out. (Luke 19:8)  It took a moment of being seen, known and wanted to change Zacchaeus’ heart.  While formerly outcasted because of his past (and present) lifestyle and reputation, Jesus brought him in.  And that sense of belonging changed Zacchaeus deeply.  And the same can happen in us.
Today, if you are feeling distant from Jesus but want to see Him afresh, He is inviting himself into your world.  He wants to sit across the table from you, like a friend would, to both listen and speak.  Take a moment today to still your heart, change your perspective, and hear Him calling.  Invite him into your world – your realer-than-you-feel-comfortable-Him-knowing world, and allow His kindness transform you.  Let salvation enter your house today.
– Pastor Cris

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