5 July 2014 by Kim Yung CM-
“When we are in a state of rejection, we long for someone who can accept us for who we are, right? We don’t want to be around people who wants to change us to be who they want us to be,” shared Pastor George Matteos who came all the way from the Philippines to preach at Faith Oasis Fellowship, on the 14th of June 2014.
In the heart of Zacchaeus the tax collector, he not only wanted to see Jesus, he wanted to get to know who Jesus was. God placed a desire that burned in his heart, to want to know the man who can forgive sins and is able to love people for who they are.
The Bible according to Luke 19 tells a story about despised local tax collectors in Palestine who collaborated with foreign oppressors from the Roman Empire. They did their dirty work of collecting as much tax as possible; the more tax they collected, the higher the percentage they would be able to keep for themselves. Zacchaeus in this case, was a wealthy man. He was the chief tax collector and that meant he would have extorted enough money from his countrymen to get to his current position. He should have known that there was no hope for a person like him. Yet, when Jesus came to town, he just had to see what Jesus was like because he yearned to be redeemed.
So, these blood-suckers like Zacchaeus profited off their countrymen’s misfortune. In doing so, they helped raise the funds necessary to finance the brutal repression of the chosen people by the pagans. Obviously, these dogs were beyond repugnant to all decent, God-fearing, people. They were enemies of God Hiimself.
Zacchaeus should have known that there was no hope for him. And [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 And there was a man called Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, and [he was] rich. 3 And he was trying to see Jesus, which One He was, but he could not on account of the crowd, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass that way.
5 And when Jesus reached 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 and came down, and he received and welcomed Him joyfully.
7 And when the people saw it, they all [a]muttered among themselves and indignantly complained, He has gone in to be the guest of and lodge with a man who is devoted to sin and pre-eminently a sinner.
8 So then Zacchaeus stood up and solemnly declared to the Lord, See, Lord, the half of my goods I [now] give [by way of restoration] to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I [now] restore four times as much.
9 And Jesus said to him, Today is [[b]Messianic and spiritual] salvation come to [all the members of] this household, since Zacchaeus too is a [real spiritual] son of Abraham;10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:1 – 10)
But as the story in the Bible goes, Jesus noticed Zacchaeus in the crowd, and even called him by name. Jesus was going to stay in his house on that day. Now, this was shocking in the eyes of the people who saw. At that time, the Jews were considered as making themselves impure by entering the house of a public sinner. But in this case, Jesus was not just any Jew and could not be made impure. Instead, Jesus would purify the sinner. Jesus saw past Zacchaeus’ crimes and his heart that was opened to the grace of God that prompted him to climb that tree.
And Jesus inviting himself to the tax-collector’s home meant an offer of forgiveness, mercy, and acceptance by God. Zacchaeus understood this and he was determined to take this chance for redemption. He knew that he had to choose between his wealth or redemption. So, he made a decision to give half of his belongings to the poor and to even pay four folds to those whom he had defrauded. This meant that he was now delivered from the spiritual dangers of his sinful lifestyle and career.
Through this story, we learn that we do not get saved by a mistake, such that you would need to intentionally be in search of something greater in your life. Everyone deserves to be saved no matter what they have done in their lives. They would only need to rid themselves off their past wrongdoings just like what Zacchaeus did and repent for the better. This story shows us all that just a simple desire for salvation was enough for Jesus to accept him. When you accept Jesus into your heart, your life will be changed. These are the fruits of the salvation that Jesus offers each of us. Wherever we are in our walk and whatever our need may be, Jesus is able to transform you and restore you to a life that is worth living, one that lasts for all eternity.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
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