Eating With Zacchaeus

“Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk. 19:9-10)

Zacchaeus was a creative person. He wanted to see Jesus; so going up the road a bit ahead of Him, he climbs up into a common sycamore tree and waits for Jesus to come to him. I wonder if Zacchaeus lived his life this way. In order to compensate for people’s hatred, would he anticipate the places where they would need him or his money? Perhaps money was the only thing in his life that people even saw of value to him… or about him. As a rich tax collector, he had no shortage of enemies. Some would find his creative leanings more manipulation than honest interest. But somehow this seemed different. Perhaps his need for love was getting the best of him? We do not know, but I wonder…

So Jesus sees this little man in the tree. Instead of passing him by, ignoring him, turning a cold shoulder or just laughing at him, Jesus stops and calls him by name – a name which means “pure”. Jesus says, “Get down from that ridiculous perch, and take Me home with you. I would like to go to your house today for supper!”

Keys to Seeking & Saving the Lost:

  1. Seeing Brokenness as an Open Door
  2. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
  3. The Will to Eat Together

What we should never miss in the story of Jesus going to the home of Zacchaeus is the issue of “brokenness”. Brokenness takes many forms, it can look like anger and rage, attitudes that protect our emotions or it can look like endless searching, longing for love and embrace. But no matter what form brokenness takes it is always an open door to a hungry heart.

The Holy Spirit had anointed Jesus with a message and ministry that would “heal the brokenhearted” and bring “deliverance to the captive” (Lk. 4:18). His ability to walk into people’s lives was undeniable… He was anointed for this and whenever Jesus spoke into the broken heart with His love, lost-ness was dissolved. Yet, Jesus still needed to be willing… willing to go where He might find others accusing Him of association with the sinner. He knew that beyond the point of association was connection and the common meal. Jesus said, “I must go to your house for supper”.

Reaching the Lost:

The lifestyle that reaches the lost around us requires intentional effort. We must notice other’s pain and brokenness, because it is an open door to their heart. We must rest on our anointing; as Jesus did, and trust God for words and power that will turn opportunities into testimonies. The Holy Spirit has always surprised me in these moments, when I find myself sharing with someone who is in a season of transition or struggle. I rarely have thought out how the words should flow ahead of time, but the Holy Spirit gives generously when we ask for wisdom.

Lastly, we must be willing to “eat with sinners” as Jesus was accused of doing when He went to several tax collector’s homes. Remember His disciple Matthew was one of those “sinners” that Jesus found through eating with him. Meals are amazing moments, because they bring us together in ways that nourish more than our bodies. Time spent around a meal turns conversation into fellowship and becomes a fire that melts away the impure motives or the apprehensions of the broken heart.

What Jesus models for us with Zacchaeus, needs to become our daily experience in the marketplace… and throughout the nations.

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