For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
This verse is the punchline from the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus the Tax Collector.
Jesus was passing through Jericho and Zacchaeus wanted to see him. Being short he climbed a tree to watch Jesus pass by. Jesus saw him, called him down and invited himself to lunch. Almost immediately Zacchaeus was converted.
Of course the “people” muttered about Jesus hanging with sinners. They judged Zacchaeus by his chosen profession and how he treated them. Tax collectors were traitors and thieves- preying on their own people.
Here’s my take away.
- Zacchaeus was an unlikely candidate but this did not influence Jesus.
- Jesus was seeking anyone who was ready. Jesus told Zach to “come down immediately” and then He seized the moment. Zach was ready.
- When Zach responded to the Gospel, his life was changed. There was evidence.
I’m inclined to believe there are people who are ready to receive the Gospel. Thinking there are people who “want to hear” is kind of foreign to American Christians who expect opposition at every turn. It makes us fearful witnesses. But what if we were just messengers on assignment to a particular person who wanted to hear? How would that change my approach?
Lord, I don’t know another person’s heart. I don’t know who is just waiting for the messenger but if you will show me I’ll give the message.
Right now, the message itself is kind of under construction in my own mind but I am clear on this:
As eternal beings we will live forever, either with God or without Him. Sin has separated mankind from God and made every person incapable of restoring their own relationship with him. Jesus came to make a way for us to be set right with God and to empower us, through the Holy Spirit, to live in unbroken fellowship with the Father, now and for eternity.
How does one cross the line of separation – from what we call death to life? It is apparently a choice of believing or faith. Faith placed in Jesus: that He is God, that His work on the cross overcame the sin that has separated each of us from God…believe that He is who He said He is…the Way, the Truth and the Life and the only door back to fellowship with the Father.
He’ll take it from there.