A post from several years ago about finding our identity in Christ.
1He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5And 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.” 6So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10
This is a story that is much like that of Jonah, or David and Goliath or Noah and the Ark, or Moses and the Red Sea. It is too familiar. We all learned it at a young age in Vacation Bible School or Sunday School. In fact I bet many of you right now are singing “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he.” I think we need a new look at this short man’s encounter with the Holy Living God.
What happened to this man to change him from a cheat, a crook, a dreg of society to one who is willing to give up all to follow Christ? What is it that happens in these ten verses that changes his heart? The simple answer is he meets Christ. Yes that is the truth, yet what is it about this encounter that has these far reaching consequences?
First, I do not think Zacchaeus expected to meet Jesus. He wanted to see him, wanted to find out what all this hype was about, but not sure he expected to meet Him. So he runs through the crowd and gets up on a tree so He can see. He has a good view now, and the tree is safer. Up there he does not have to risk standing next to one of the countless citizens of Jericho that he has cheated. So from his safe haven, or his comfort zone, he sees Jesus. He is probably happy as Jesus walks by, probably caught up in his thoughts. Yet Jesus looks up. He looks in the tree. He looks Zacchaeus in the eyes and speaks to him. Jesus looks there at Zacchaeus in the middle of his comfort zone and calls him out. I am certain that Zacchaeus is astonished and amazed that this wonderful man wants to hang out with him. I mean who is not excited to spend time with the most popular Guy around. There is a sense of pride floating around Zacchaeus heart as he climbs down the tree.
When he looks at Jesus something amazing happens. Looking upon Jesus is like looking at a mirror into his own soul. Yet only those parts of himself that match the perfection of Jesus appear. He sees this nearly empty image on the mirror and he realizes his utter lostness and complete hopelessness. He looks upon perfection and realizes his life is nothing without Jesus. He wants nothing else than to be filled by Jesus. Yet to do that requires a radical change in his own soul. He falls in love with Jesus in a single instance. This was true deep love at first sight. He changes his life to be completely about Jesus’ purposes and his ways.
How are you reacting as you come face to face with Jesus today? Are you realizing how imperfect you are, much as Zacchaeus did? Are you falling in love with Jesus all over again or for the first time? Today leave His footprints by filling the places personal imperfection with His perfection.