7/5/13 The Guest of a Sinner

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July as we had the opportunity to celebrate the gift of independence God has given to us as Americans.  Please take a moment to pray for God to grant you peace and quiet in this moment, before you begin to read and think about what God has for you today. Luke 19:5 – 10 

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.”

My first reaction is to look for a connection to the verse God has been using to guide us these last few weeks.  1 Peter 3:15 states “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Being prepared is a state of mind.  It is about having the “peace that passes all understanding” no matter what the situation or circumstances.  In the Luke 19 passage we see Jesus totally comfortable in the presence of Zacchaeus, a known “sinner”.  Luke does not give us any indication that Jesus is hesitant or tentative as he relates to Zacchaeus.  Jesus is prepared!  The question we need to ask ourselves is, “How comfortable am I around people who are different than me, are known ‘sinners’, and/or are far from God?”  If our answer is that we are not comfortable, then I think being prepared would include praying that God would help us be more comfortable and relaxed in these settings.  These prayers go hand in hand with prayers for opportunities to have spiritual conversations with those we meet in our daily lives.

Please note, also, that there is no record of Zacchaeus asking Jesus any questions.  In this case, there are no questions asked and no answers given.  All it took for Zacchaeus to have a change of heart about the way he was approaching his work as a tax collector was a meal eaten with a fully prepared, fully available, Jesus.

May God grant us lives in which we are fully prepared and fully available “to give the reason for the hope that you (we) have”!