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When Zacchaeus Met Jesus

It is often said that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. It is human nature to make assumptions about people as soon as we meet them, and we presuppose a lot about people from the way that they dress, their body language, etc. We may even hear rumours about people before meeting them ourselves.

Luke chapter 19 tells us of a man whose reputation went before him. His name was Zacchaeus, and he was well-known as a tax collector. This made him rather unpopular with the locals, as tax collectors had a reputation for exploiting their powers and extorting money out of people.

Imagine the surprise of those people, then, as Jesus, who was passing through the town where Zacchaeus lived, approached him and asked to stay at his house! Zacchaeus had climbed a tree to get a better view of Jesus (he was a rather short man and he couldn’t see over the crowds), and Jesus said to him,

Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.

It says in verse 7 that the people began to ‘mutter’, clearly feeling disgruntled that Jesus, who was supposed to be a righteous man, was associating with someone whom they viewed as a ‘sinner’.

But Jesus didn’t come to this world to mingle with those who were considered religious, or successful, or those who were of the opinion that they didn’t need his help. He came for those who acknowledged that they didn’t have all the answers in life – even for those whom society had decided were not worth bothering with:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.’ (Luke 19:10)

The story of Zacchaeus gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ compassion.

So which category do we fall into? Are we too proud to admit that we need God’s help in life? Or are we willing to confess our inadequacy before Him, and allow Him to work in our lives?

Read Zacchaeus account in Luke 19:1–10

Giles Hickling, The Church of God in Manchester

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