Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
The story of Jesus and Zacchaeus in Jericho tells us of an encounter between Jesus and a man whose occupational practices as a chief tax collector had alienated him from the people he lived around. It also shows us how Zacchaeus’s desire to see Jesus led to the transformation of his heart.
As Jesus was passing through Jericho, he stopped at the sycamore tree that Zacchaeus had climbed up in order to see him. Jesus told him to come down, because he was going to his house that day. This was not popular with the bystanders, for a holy man was not to associate with someone who was a known sinner. Here Jesus showed us that he was interested in a person whatever their reputation might be.
Zacchaeus had a desire to see Jesus, and we can only speculate what was going on in his heart pertaining to that desire. We do know that when Jesus told him he was coming to his house, Zacchaeus was happy to oblige. We also know that something happened during this encounter. Zacchaeus’s heart was changed, and he was more than willing to make restitution to everyone he had cheated, as well as to help the poor. Zacchaeus’s meeting with Jesus changed his heart and saved him.
We as followers of Christ need to be willing to meet people where they are, in order to share the gospel message with them. Christ came to seek and save the lost, and that intent should be ours as well. When one person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ, the world is changed for the better.
Tim Sapp, pastor, Advent Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina