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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus . . .”—Luke 19:1–2 (NKJV)
It was the least likely combination.
On one side of the social spectrum we have Jesus. There had never been anyone like Him. Everything He did pointed to Heaven. With a touch, He unleashed Heaven’s power to heal the most incurable cases on earth. And with His words, He unveiled the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Unless you were driven by a malicious motive, you had to concede that this was a good man.
Then on the other side of the spectrum we have Zacchaeus. Here’s what we know about him: he was Jewish, he was a tax collector, he was wealthy, and he was corrupt. He was undoubtedly despised by his countrymen, because a tax collector in those days was seen as a sell-out to the Roman authority and a traitor that oppressed the Jewish population. Serving Rome also gave him the immunity to skim a little extra off the top of his taxations, hence his wealth.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see that this man was Christ’s polar opposite. One lived to give of Himself to others, the other lived to take from others to gain for himself.
And yet, there was something inside of Zacchaeus that drove him to see Jesus as He passed through Jericho. So much so that he was willing to cast aside his social pride by climbing up a tree on account of his short stature. That was an unexpected move on the tax collector’s part. But this was suddenly eclipsed by something even more unexpected:
“When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’”—Luke 19:5 (NKJV)
Jesus literally invited Himself over to Zacchaeus’ house that day. That’s what you call a bold move!
Again, this was an unlikely combination. A man of moral purity mixing with a well-known traitor and thief . . . this shouldn’t happen. But it did, and it’s a good thing because it shows us that Jesus wants to establish a relationship with everyone.
It also teaches us the love of Jesus can cleanse the most sin-stained heart. Zacchaeus was so overcome by Christ’s compassion for him that he changed course and determined to live for Him instead of himself.
An unexpected combination, an unexpected invitation, an unexpected grace, an unexpected change . . . that’s how our great God works in lives!
DIG: Why was Christ’s invitation to Zacchaeus unexpected?
DISCOVER: What does this reveal to us about the Lord?
DISPLAY: How does Christ’s interaction with Zacchaeus challenge you?
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.