ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

ZACCHAEUS

 

It was a question on the lips of many: who is this man? Who is this man doing all these mighty miracles? Who is this man who teaches with authority? Who is this man who is not afraid to confront and contradict the religious leaders? Who is this Jesus?

For a long time this question had pounded on the heart and mind of a most unlikely person: in the town of Jericho a hated, rich, thieving tax-collector had heard the rumours and reports about Jesus and in his heart had grown a desire to find out more about him, to find out who Jesus is.

Then Jesus came to Jericho, and invited himself to Zacchaeus' house. Welcoming him gladly, Zacchaeus took Jesus home, and there he found the answer to his questions.

Acknowledging Jesus as the Lord, he expressed the integrity of his new faith by recognizing also the wrongness of his lifestyle and spontaneously stating his intention to make restitution for what he had stolen and to give half of his possessions to the poor.

In stark contrast to the rich ruler who sought eternal life for himself but did not choose to submit to Jesus as Lord, Zacchaeus sought Jesus Christ, and in finding and acknowledging Jesus Christ also gained eternal life.

At the beginning of the record of this encounter we have Zacchaeus seeking to find out who is Jesus. At the end we have Jesus expressing his purpose to seek and to save the lost. This encounter is a beautiful cameo, a picture in which the human heart seeking God and the God seeking to save human hearts come together.

May we each one put ourselves in the picture. May our quest be like that of Zacchaeus - centered on Jesus Christ, and not like that of the rich ruler, centered on himself.

Scriptures: Luke 19:1-10; Luke 18:18-23.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2009