Barking Up the Right Tree
Father God, here I am before You. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law” (Psa. 119:18).
Read LUKE 19:1-10
 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.  When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'”  But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did Zacchaeus show that he was changed by Jesus?
I love the quirky detail of the Gospel stories. Here we have a vertically challenged tax collector up a sycamore-fig tree, ripe for the picking, as it turns out. There was nothing to suggest that he was a likely convertﾗquite the reverse. He was a hated tax collector, probably a crooked one. He had sold out to the oppressors of his own people and was doing very well in the situation As far as we know, his desire to catch a peek of the Messiah was nothing but idle curiosity. And yet all it took was an act of acceptance from Jesus, and everything changed for himﾗand changed in him. He would never be the same.
Jesus had to remind the crowds that his purpose was to “seek and to save what was lost” (10). Sometimes we, too, can forget this and think that Jesus is concerned first and foremost with nice Christians like us. He loves us, but every lost person is precious to him. Following him means taking up his concerns and carrying out his purposes. We need to be looking up into trees and calling people down to meet their Savior. Jesus cares for lost people, and so must we.
Who is the least likely person you know to respond to Jesus? Pray for them and to be able to introduce them to Jesus.
Merciful Lord, just as You came for the lost, I ask You to give me, too, a heart for lost people, especially those around me.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.