Oct. 30, 2016
Zacchaeus, the small man who ended big
Lessons from Zacchaeus (Lk.19:1-10)
- God's grace searches us out. God reaches out to save us, he initiates the encounter. Even though Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree, it was Christ that discovered him, "When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him, Zacchaeus come down. Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today" (Lk.19:5).
- God passes our way always. God's desire is to save us, and for that reason he passes our way to get hold of us. Salvation does not depend on people's opinion, it depends on your acceptance of God's offer, "Today, salvation has come to your house".
- God doesn't give up on us despite our sins. When Christ met Zacchaeus, the people complained, 'He has gone to stay at a sinner's house" (Lk.19:7). Make up your mind to turn to Jesus, don't mind what people say about your past. By the way, Jesus knew that Zacchaeus had been a sinner. God's interest is in having you saved.
- Zacchaeus also teaches us to not let the pressures of our environment discourage us. He was diminutive in size. He was mocked by the crowd. He was materially suffocating. Yet, he converted every obstacle on his way to opportunity. He worked for his salvation. Work for your salvation.
- Zacchaeus teaches us courage in the faith. We need the boldness of Zacchaeus to overcome societal pressures. We need the courage of Zacchaeus to invite and to host Jesus in our homes. Jesus is constantly passing our way, but we have to recognize that. Zacchaeus "stood his ground" (Lk.19:8). Stand your ground in faith.
- Zacchaeus teaches us to make restitutions for whatever we deny others. Restitution is important for forgiveness. It is an act of justice to return what doesn't belong to you. Bad judgments are justices denied others and we have to make up for them. We need to reverse wrong judgments and render justice to anyone we have cheated. Zacchaeus gives us the key, "Sir, if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times".
- Zacchaeus teaches us to approach life with optimism. We have to look beyond our physical limitations, see challenges not as shortcoming but as opportunity. We have to explore our "handicaps".
- Finally, Zacchaeus teaches us that religion is practical. We have to work for our salvation. We must climb up, go beyond worldly pleasures, stretch ourselves for the sake of the kingdom of God. What matters most is what God says about you. We must repent to be saved.