When I get home from work every night, my 5 year old son Joshua acknowledges my return. When I say “acknowledges,” I mean ACKNOWLEDGES in the same way Dino Flintstone welcomes home Fred after he returns from Mr. Slate’s quarry. Josh’s enthusiasm always brings a smile to my face. It also reminds me of how different children are than adults.
Children are not as concerned about appearances as adults are. If they are happy, they let you know. If they are sad, they let you know. If they are bored, they let you know. Most children have not yet learned the very “adult” art of hiding our emotions. Josh’s unfettered greeting of me every evening is just another reminder of that.
As we progress backwards through the book of Luke during our Advent devotionals, we have come to Luke 19:1-10 – Jesus interaction with Zacchaeus. Read this section of Scripture below:
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And 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.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And 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.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Zacchaeus is a great example to all of us of what it looks like to have a child-like faith when it comes to following Christ. First of all, Zacchaeus (like a child) had a very acute sense of his spiritual need. Being a tax collector, Zacchaeus was a social outcast and publicly labeled “sinner” by the religious people around him. Zacchaeus probably wanted to see Christ partly because of Christ’s reputation of being a “friend of sinners and tax collectors” (Luke 7:34). In addition to his sense of spiritual need, however, Zacchaeus pursued Christ in a radical, rather undignified way for a grown man. Like a child, Zacchaeus climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of the Savior. Jesus rewards Zaccaeus’s child-like faith by not only granting Zacchaeus a glimpse, but offering Him an eternal relationship with the God of the universe. What grace!
This Christmas, may we all worship Jesus with child-like enthusiasm. Often, we temper our enthusiasm for the Savior out of a fear of what others might think of us. We don’t talk about our faith with our friends or family because we don’t want them to think that we are “weird.” We don’t raise our hands in worship because we don’t want to look too bizarre. We don’t initiate prayer publicly when faced with a need because we are not 100% sure if the friend we are with understands the power of prayer. We are often tempered in our public expression of faith. However, as Zacchaeus shows us, Jesus is honored when grown men and women run ahead to see Him with the enthusiasm of a child.