6.14.2013 "Hold on!"

Luke 19: 1-10 19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “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.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

As a child this was one of my favorite Bible stories.  It has several appeals.  It is hard not to have empathy for Zacchaeus at least early on because of the way he is presented.  It was easy as a child for me to identify with him because he was little and so was I.  Often children are under or overlooked, simply because of their stature.   So here is Zacchaeus with all the things money can buy yet we learned he is not well thought of.  The image presented is that of a pariah someone people avoided a man with everything but ultimately a man alone.

Then the unimaginable happens.  While trying to catch a glimpse of this prophet he’s heard so much about, Jesus calls him out by name!  How cool is that!  The one person I’m sure everyone in town would have vote least likely to get any attention from the Son of GOD is called out by name!  As a child and even more so today for me this was awesome.  It told me that even if you are the underdog GOD sees you and you are not a little nobody to HIM no matter how badly you’ve messed things up.

But the story continues.  As you would expect, those folks with stature don’t appreciate this development.   See people of stature don’t run around with trash.  After all, you are who you associate with right?  But JESUS ignored the trash Zacchaeus had piled up in his life; he didn’t even hold his nose.  He looked right into his heart and offered a clean and fresh alternative to the mess Zacchaeus had made.   While he appeared to also ignore the right and proper people of stature he did not for he looked into their hearts as well and I can imagine him then holding his nose.

The last sentence of the passage is the hold story.  GOD did not send his beloved SON to earth on a search and destroy mission.   JESUS was deployed on a search and save mission.

LORD GOD of the universe thank you for sending your SON to not only save us but to teach us and show us how to live.  Thank you for the lesson of this passage that no one is too little or too dirty to be held up and cleansed by your ALMIGHTY hand.  Thank you for this day that we may be blessed and be a blessing.