When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." Luke 19:5
How many of you can't hear the name "Zacchaeus" without breaking into song? "Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he." Okay, I am forcing myself to stop. This is not a story of a wee little man but a story of a big God with a heart full of forgiveness.
Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, had risen to the top of a despised profession. He was a Jew who worked for the Romans. That was bad enough, but tax collectors were notorious for charging inflated amounts and pocketing the surplus. Zacchaeus was wealthy, which means what he lacked in height, he made up in shrewdness. But on this day, Zacchaeus wanted to see the Man named Jesus. Little did he know that day Jesus had an appointment with him. The Lord called Zacchaeus down from his vantage point and invited Himself for lunch, in spite of the muttering from the crowd that Jesus was going to eat with a "sinner." Before the salads were served, Zacchaeus was already repenting. As a tangible sign of a changed heart, he promised to give half of his money to the poor and return four times the amount to anyone whom he had cheated. Then came the best news. Jesus said, "Today salvation has come to this house."
Most of the people in the crowd that day had written Zacchaeus off when it came to anything spiritual. He was a crook and a cheat. Then he met Jesus. As I read this story, I wonder how many people I have written off. Why do I so often forget that Jesus "came to seek and to save what was lost?" (Luke 19:10). Zacchaeus reminds me to turn my judgment to prayer.
Father, forgive me for my judgment on the "sinners" around me. Forgive me for forgetting where I was before You found me and where I would be without Your grace. Remind me why You came to this earth. Give me a new commitment to share Your forgiveness with those You've placed in my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.