summer I led a study group on prayer at church. Arriving early one night, I found
myself alone in a quiet empty church. I walked over t a table that contained free
literature and started thumbing through some of the material. I noticed one pamphlet
concerning prayer, and since I was leading a study group on prayer, it caught
my attention, and I began reading through it.
pamphlet asked Christians to lift up in prayer specific individuals in positions
of influence around the world. It listed various world leaders, heads of state,
government officials and people in high profile positions in the media industry.
pamphlet had a picture of each individual, and it gave a brief synopsis of how
that person influenced world affairs followed by suggestions on how to pray for
that person. One picture I immediately recognized, and it aroused my interest.
It was a picture of Osama bin Laden – a face we see and a name we hear often
in the news. He’s the suspected mastermind of several terrorist attacks against
the United States.
I saw the picture, I must confess that my first thought wasn’t to pray for his
well being but for his destruction. I don’t reveal my initial thoughts with any
pride or joy. I know that thought runs counter to the Gospel I preach. It wasn’t
a thought grounded in love but in vengeance. The Gospel message is one where God
seeks sinners for salvation.
the Bible I know of no story that better illustrates the purpose of Jesus Christ’s
coming than the account of a man named Zacchaeus. It illustrates how Christ came
to seek and save sinners.
the 19th chapter of Luke we meet Zacchaeus. It’s a short story – only 10
verses long. But it’s a powerful message deserving our attention.
you’re like me and have children who grew up in Sunday School, the first thing
that might come to mind about Zacchaeus is a son. It starts out with the line:
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he.” I like that
first line. It immediately endears me to Zacchaeus. I guess it’s because I love
a story where Jesus seeks and saves a short guy.
19th chapter begins by telling us that Jesus entered the city of Jericho. Zacchaeus
lived in Jericho and Luke tells us he was a chief tax collector which wasn’t at
all popular with the people. Being a short man, Zacchaeus couldn’t see over the
crowd so he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up into a tree for a better view.
When Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was, He looked up and said: “Zacchaeus,
come down immediately. I must stay at your hose today” (v 5). Zacchaeus immediately
responded by coming down and gladly welcoming Jesus into his home.
reaction of the crowd was shock. They couldn’t believe that Jesus would associate
with someone like Zacchaeus. They couldn’t believe that He would enter the home
of a sinner, but He did. And because He did, an amazing thing occurred.
don’t know how long Jesus spent with Zacchaeus, but when their meeting was just
about over he stood up and made an amazing statement: “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” (v. 8).
responded by saying: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this
man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what
was lost” (vv. 9-10).
final verse in the story may very well rank as one of the most important verses
in the entire Bible. If I were put on the spot and allowed
only one sentence
to describe who Jesus was and why He came, I might very well have chosen verse
Jesus need to come to your house to seek and save a lost sinner? Salvation can
only come if Jesus comes. There is no other way.
good news is that He wants to come. He wants to come because you have value. He
wants to come because He loves you.
life needs a transformation that only Jesus can accomplish. Jesus came to seek
and save lost sinners. The only open question is: Will you walk away or will you
gladly invite Him into your house?
brief provided by: Michael Watkins, Dexter,