Seeking Out and Saving
Luke 19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 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.” 9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
Zacchaeus was disliked by those in his community because of his ill-gained wealth. Tax collectors were known for their unscrupulous practices, defrauding the people of their resources. We’re not told about Zacchaeus’ interest in Jesus, except that he was “trying to see who Jesus was.” It is Jesus who intentionally seeks out this man who has climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of him. Interestingly, when catching his attention, Jesus invites himself to stay at Zacchaeus’ home and Zacchaeus seems to be more than happy to comply. The transformation in Zacchaeus’ life is almost surreal as he responds from the place of his greatest interest — money! He gives to the poor and repays those whom he has defrauded.
No matter the depth of corruption, God’s prevenient grace is at work, seeking out and leading to salvation those who are lost. Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham, a child of the king, one in need of redemption. Jesus actively and intentionally sought out those who needed to be saved.
Jesus was actively engaged in the Father’s mission. Continuous spiritual growth leads us to ever-increasing participation with God. The result is that God’s passions become our passions. Our hearts are broken by the very things that break the heart of God. The result is that we must become just as intentional in our mission as Jesus was.
Jesus intentionally sought out those who were lost and needed to be found. It would have been easy to ignore the little man up in the tree. Instead, Jesus was always on the look-out for those on the margins. One might find it difficult to believe that a wealthy man was on the margins, but that’s where Zacchaeus found himself. He was ostracized because of his work. People disliked him and didn’t want to spend time with him. These are the people to whom we are called if we are to be like Jesus.
Not only did Jesus see him, but Jesus gave him attention. When the rest of the world walked by, Jesus treated him with respect. It was in the relationship with Jesus that Zacchaeus was transformed and it is in the place of personal relationships that salvation will come to the homes of those who need to know Christ.
This is the week of Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. This would be a lovely time to open a home, or a table, to someone that the world just might not see. We are invited, as God’s people, to intentionally go out and seek those who need to be saved. We become the channels of God’s prevenient grace to the world. May our tables, meals and conversations flow freely with the grace of our God, seasoning the lives of those who need to know our Lord.
Lord, please give me your eyes to see those who may be waiting to be seen. Amen.