Just a few thoughts from this morning’s Daily Lectionary reading of the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19.
Jesus spotted Zacchaeus because of the ridiculous effort he took to see Jesus. Climbing a tree hardly seems a dignified way for a grown man to behave, especially a very wealthy man.
A man who climbs a tree to get a glimpse of you is a Person of Peace (see Luke 10). Jesus recognizes this and simply invites himself over to Zacchaeus’ house! This means that Jesus is on Zacchaeus’ turf, where Zacchaeus is comfortable. Jesus is allowing Zacchaeus to serve him and show him hospitality. He eats the food Zacchaeus gives him and simply hangs out there for the afternoon.
Eventually the simple presence of Jesus brings Zacchaeus to repentance. He gives away half of his possessions to the poor and vows to pay back four times the amount of whatever he’s cheated others out of.
Jesus then announces what has just happened: “Today salvation has come to this house.”
To drive the point home, Jesus uses his interaction with Zacchaeus to illustrate and reiterate why he has come: “to seek and save what was lost.”
May we also continue to do the same things, following in the footsteps of our Master.
- Find the person of peace, the person who is open to you, interested in you, likes you, wants to be around you.
- Go to their turf, where they’re comfortable.
- Allow them to serve you, show you hospitality.
- Spend intentional time with them, and
- Be ready to do the works of the Kingdom and speak the words of the Kingdom (in appropriate ways).
Because if we love Jesus, and we love people, we’re going to want to make that connection. If we find ourselves feeling lackluster about helping people get to know Jesus, we are suffering from a lack of love. Either a lack of love for people (we’d rather maintain our pride than risk looking foolish), or a lack of love for Jesus (we really don’t think he’s worth knowing).
But if we believe that Jesus did come to “seek and save what was lost,” and that being with him to learn from him how to be like him is the path to human flourishing, we will want others to come to know Jesus. Jesus himself gives us a wonderful way to do that relationally, naturally, organically.