“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But 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.” Jesus said to him, “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.” Like 19:1-10
Imagine if we preached exclusively from the Bible? Imagine if our stories, examples, soteriology and theology were all based upon what Jesus said in the gospels without us chasing the “true meaning” or the “hidden message that Jesus really intended” ? If we really preached what He preached, plain and simple, more than a few Christian religious leaders would dismiss that sort of preaching as being “fundamental”, “radical” or “too liberal”. And that all might be true! The gospel can be offensive to many, but odious to some a lot of the religious folks—now and then.
Those of us behind the pulpit often make things too hard to understand, or perhaps we just don’t like Jesus or Paul said because it messes up our ideas we’ve already settled on about salvation and how God is supposed to think and work. But look at what Jesus said and for a moment throw away the notion that you have to scholar of ancient Greek to understand it:
-He responds to those that are looking for Him. In this case it was Zacchaeus—a “filthy” tax collector. Today he would probably be a drug dealer or politician 🙂—-i.e. a sinner. But this man was wiser than most folks at the nations Capitol—he knew he needed to be rescued and was anxious to hear some good news about how to make things right in his life.
-The man, the sinner, was glad to have Jesus in his house! Even today aren’t most folks that are lost glad to be found! And yet, there are those who don’t think they are lost and others that want to wander about lost; they resent any rescue team descending upon them.
-As a sign of his repentance and acknowledgment of his sin, he pledged, in front of everyone, to make right what he had done wrong—with interest. Isn’t this what John the Baptist also said? “Provide evidence of your repentance….” Do we ask the same from those who want to come in from the world and join His Kingdom??
-AFTER Zachaeus took responsibility for his sins, dishonesty and errors….after he sought the Savior….after he invited the Man (Jesus) into his home—— then Jesus proclaimed, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham….”
And that’s what Jesus did! The narrative seems to say, in regard to salvation: The Spirit moves… the man responds…..there is an encounter with Jesus…….the man’s heart is changed…..Jesus becomes the man’s advocate and Jesus proclaims him “saved”.
That’s good news. Let’s tell the world…..
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