Gone to the House of the Sinner
Luke 19:7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”
Luke 19:8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”
Luke 19:9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
Jesus’ mission statement is found in the last verse — he “came to seek out and to save the lost.” He didn’t wait around for all the sinners to come to him, but he actively went to where they were. This meant that he had to go to the homes of people like Zacchaeus, for Zacchaeus was a sinner. Jesus was fulfilling his mission but those around him could not see it! Instead they complained that he was going to be the “guest of one who is a sinner.”
If followers of Christ are going to make a difference, then we must follow Jesus out into the world. Obviously Jesus had his priorities right. How many times to we read that Jesus had spent time in prayer before going out to spend time with those who needed to be saved? He knew that his power came from his connection to the Father, and the same is true for us. We must first spend time with him, and then we can go out to the houses of sinners.
Everywhere we read about Jesus’ presence in the New Testament we realize that his holiness is never contaminated by the presence of sin, but instead, sin is destroyed by the presence of his holiness. Remember the woman who reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment? Jesus was not made unclean — but instead she was healed. The power of Christ could invade the places which had been corrupted by sin.
The early folks of the holiness movement knew that they were compelled to go out to the houses of sinners. They knew that they had to follow the mission of Christ — seeking and saving the lost! We have become afraid of going to the homes of sinners for we have become concerned that they will make us dirty. That’s what the crowds thought about Jesus! They had no comprehension of the power of God that lived in him. I’m not sure that we comprehend the power of God that can live in us!
We are to be filled through and through with the Holy Spirit — and then the power of God will flow through us empowering us to be guests in the houses of sinners. It is there that the love of Jesus which has been lavished on us can splash over into the world and make a difference! Zacchaeus was transformed by the presence of Jesus. He just needed Jesus to come to him. Today there are many more Zacchaeus’ in the world who simply need someone who is a reflection of Jesus to come and be in their midst, bringing with them the transformational power of God.
It’s time for us to go and be the guest of sinners.
Lord, may I be willing to go anywhere you call me. Amen.