God occupy centre stage in my life? If He were to pay me a surprise visit when
He trod this earth, would I have let him in? Would I have let him come into my
bedroom, look into my closets, watch TV with me? Would I have shown him my
photo album and let him listen to my CDs? Could he have browsed through the
messages and photos in my mobile phone and computer? Could He have looked under
my bed, in my wardrobe? If I would let him then, my life would have changed
after that for a certainty.
Jesus does not point fingers, you see. He invited himself to dinner in Zacchaeus’ house without prior notice; took a seat, and never said a word. Why? He had seen it all even before arriving at Zacchaeus’ house. His presence was enough for Him to take everything in. If Jesus did not ‘hang’ with people like Zacchaeus how on earth could He have made an impact? This was the reason He declared that He did not come for those who were righteous, but those who were in need of a doctor. Doctor Jesus visited the homes of the downtrodden, those rejected by society to minister to them; so they too could have access to the kingdom of God. These also were sons and daughters of Abraham, weren’t they?
Most leaders would have used that opportunity to address Zacchaeus to straighten his life and get his priorities right. They would have picked on all that he was doing wrong. Thank God for our Lord Jesus and His saving-power. By the end of His sojourn in Zacchaeus’ house, watch what happened. Zacchaeus made a confession. Remember that our Lord Jesus did not say a word. Just His presence in a sinner’s house performed the miracle. In Zacchaeus’ heart he was not worthy to receive such a guest in his abode. That was the greatest honour that could have been done to him. From deep inside him, was born the need for repentance. ‘In Jesus’ light Zacchaeus saw the light.’ Zacchaeus got the signal, interpreted the signs and did not miss this glorious opportunity.
He got up, went into his secret treasury and brought out his stolen wealth declaring; “Lord, 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.” (Luke 19:8) When we look back at our evil deeds and decide to wrench ourselves free from them, we are on our way to repentance. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17) Zacchaeus took a bold step to rid himself of his past. What was our Lord’s reaction to this move? He made this statement, “Today salvation has come to this house.” (Luke 19:10)
Zacchaeus openly broke with his past, he decided to turn a new page; he became a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) No more would he be identified as a swindler, a rogue or a thief! He decided to wipe his slate clear. If he was being hypocritical about it, our Lord Jesus would have known. If he was just making a show for the eye-seeing of men, he would have detected and would certainly not have endorsed the move. But because Zacchaeus was sincere about his confession, our Lord Jesus endorsed it.
Our Lord Jesus longs for an encounter with each and everyone of us. He could initiate it; it could be a chanced encounter, like it was with Bartimaeus, who succeeded in stopping God in His tracks. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38) Our Lord Jesus is desirous of snatching His sheep from the mouth of the predator Satan. And He says: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)
You may not understand this; though our Lord Jesus hates sin, He loves sinners. He welcomes them to come to Him; He even went looking for them. He left Jerusalem and trekked all the way to look for one sinner, -- the Samaritan woman whose life was far from exemplary. She was someone whom a whole village had castigated and constantly discriminated against. Our Lord Jesus spotted her, and as it were, reinstated her. The point is that we all commit sins and no human being is perfect in the sight of God. We are all full of flaws.
As soon as that woman could see the light, she could no longer contain herself. She brought salvation to an entire village. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ? ” (John 4:29)
God does not shun sinners, he wants everyone to come to repentance. He wants everyone to change his or her ways. For Satan “.. is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) His desire is to kill steal and destroy but our Lord Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) There is no need for you to run and hide, rather come to Him. Open the door of your heart to Him.
A crowd had brought a woman to our Lord Jesus accusing her of having committed adultery and asked for her to be stoned according to the law of Moses. They expected the Lord to side with them, but He did not. These people saw only what was wrong in people. Our Lord Jesus asked those who have not sinned to throw the first stone. One by one they left the scene. Our Lord Jesus asked her where those who had condemned her were. “They‘ve left,” she answered. ‘Well go, I am not condemning you either. Go and leave your life of sin.’ ” (John 8:11) That lady was elevated to be the one who prepared Jesus for His burial.Sin would cease to be a way of life with us after we have an encounter with the Lord. In his presence we are transformed, translated from darkness to His marvellous light. Believe in Him and practise true repentance.