Luke 19.1-10 (Click here to read on YouVersion)
This is probably one of my favorite stories in the Bible and one of my favorite stories to preach.
As a tax collector, Zacchaeus was known as a con man, a cheat, and a low-life. Observant Jews would have looked down on him. They would have known him by his reputation and hated him.
But the name Zacchaeus means "pure" or "righteous." I love that Jesus knew exactly where Zacchaeus was hiding and called him by name. Jesus saw past Zacchaeus' reputation and public image and still called him "pure" and "righteous."
Make no mistake, Zacchaeus was a sinful human being. But aren't we all? By calling his name and dining with him, Jesus wasn't excusing Zacchaeus' lifestyle nor was He condoning sin. But Jesus knows that the only way a heart is touched and a life is transformed is through relationship and presence.
The Bible doesn't record much about the meal at Zacchaeus' house. We don't know what was served or what was discussed. We just know that while sitting in the presence of Jesus at the table, Zacchaeus had a change of heart. Notice something: the change was beginning before Zacchaeus ever climbed the tree. Something was drawing Zacchaeus to be closer to Jesus. But the change didn't really happen until Zacchaeus had truly spent time in the presence of the Lord.
The cure for sin, addictions, or wrongdoing isn't found in programs or steps. You can't climb your way out of sin any more than Zacchaeus climbing a tree saved him. The cure is only found in true relationship with Jesus and the time spent in His presence.
I want to encourage you today to spend time in Jesus' presence. Sit down, turn off your cell phone, open your Bible, read His Word, listen for His voice. Whatever thing you are carrying, whatever sin you are struggling with, whatever anxieties you are dealing with, His presence is the cure.
He always comes when we invite Him.
Today's Prayer: Lord Jesus, make my life your dwelling place today and every day. I want your presence every moment. I need true, deep relationship with you so that I might find hope and healing. Send your Spirit with me wherever I go that I might always sense your presence. Amen