Feb 12, 2014, 9:27 AM
Lord is good to the one who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
Most people do embark on ‘search’ missions full of enthusiasm but get put off by the obstacles they encounter on the way. When that happens though, it is a sign that the individual was not really enthused; it was just sheer curiosity, not strictly to satisfy a need.
In the course of His journeys, Jesus met a tax collector who was all too eager to see who He was. Zacchaeus, as he was called, must have heard a lot of interesting and amazing things about Jesus to have left all he had to do to try and see this Man himself. He wanted to see what was spectacular or special about Him. His desire was to take a good peak at Him, rather anonymously, because he did not think himself worthy of the privilege. Why? Because he considered himself a sinner; for tax collectors were not popular among the people they robbed by levying high taxes -- part of which went into their pockets.
That he ventured to see Jesus was already an achievement for him. How it ended though must have come as a surprise, the very least of his expectations. Yet, all he did was position himself for that outcome. You do not set out to see Jesus without finding Him and having a life-changing experience.
Zacchaeus did not realise he had a handicap until he got to the scene where he found a large crowd teeming around Jesus. He was short in stature so there was no way he could penetrate the crowd to have a closer view. All his attempts were met with resistance as they nudged him out of the way.
With no help in sight, he thought of a smart way to make his venture a success. He purposed in his heart to go ahead of Jesus, perch on a tree right under where the latter was heading. In this way, he could see at firsthand what Jesus looked like and be able to evaluate whether all what had been said about Him was not exaggerated. He would then be able to relate his experience at the first opportunity.
What Zacchaeus did not realise was happening in the spiritual realm was that his encounter with Jesus was a divine appointment. When Jesus got to the point where Zacchaeus had perched, He looked up and called to him by name. “Zacchaeus, come down immediately, I must stay at your house today!” (Luke 19:5b) Zacchaeus must have been stunned. I guess his first reaction as he muttered to himself would have been; ‘How come He knows my name?’ His second question would have been; ‘Doesn’t He know I am a sinner to want to come to my house?’ He was not the only one thinking that way though. When the other tax collectors saw the Master enter Zacchaeus’ dwelling place they murmured: “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” (Luke 19:7b)
It is apparent that Zacchaeus must have developed a ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’ to have been able to take time off to meet with Jesus. Deep within him, he sensed something was amiss. Sin had become his master, to the extent of overpowering him and would have consumed him through and through. He longed to set eyes on Jesus just at the right time; for it appeared Jesus also was looking for him.
Each of us at one point in time in our lives have felt such emptiness and have yearned for such a vacuum to be filled. The Bible exhorts us to “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) We get to a stage in our lives when we need to get right with God. Nothing is hidden from God. King David wrote; “O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139:1-4) These thoughts equally apply to our situation.
Our Lord Jesus entered Zacchaeus’ home and said nothing; yet Zacchaeus stood up and made a commitment: “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.” (Luke 19:8) How did this happen? This tax collector came to satisfy his curiosity and look at where he is at? -- making a confession. “My eyes have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”(Job 42:5-6)
The very presence of Jesus is enough to reveal the best in us as the filth takes its exit. By such a statement Zacchaeus made a significant stride of breaking up with his past; he was literally bowing at the foot of our Lord Jesus in repentance. He now sees himself as a new creation and in line with the Word which says: “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We all need to come to this stage in our lives! This is an opportunity no one should miss. If you do not know where to start, say this prayer; “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Our Lord has a listening ear; He is compassionate. He does not condemn. His desire is that all will come to the knowledge of the truth and be set free. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve.” (Psalm 103:10) Remember His mission on earth is to save those that are lost – ordinary souls like you and me. Do not let the world deprive you of your position in the Kingdom of God. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Our Lord made a pronouncement however after Zacchaeus’ confession. “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.” (Luke 19:9)
Do not miss yet another opportunity. Jesus is saying to you, dear reader. “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.” (Revelation 3:20)