[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
Seek and Save the Lost by Jonathan Holmes
Read: Luke 19:1-10
The other day I was reading this story to our 10 month old daughter from her Rhyme Bible. After the story my wife asked, “Why is the story of Zaccheus in the Bible?” So I of course, grabbed my “I’m a pastor and I know everything about the Bible” hat and put it on. Nope! I was stumped. I reverted back to some things that I was taught in Children’s ministry, but I still didn’t have a very good answer for her.
If you grew up in the church like I did, there are many Bible stories just like this one that you know by heart, but they have never affected your heart. We know the facts about the story, but we never think about how it affects our lives. Through the story of Zaccheus we will see that although we believe that we seek after Jesus, Jesus in fact seeks after us.
In v. 2 we are introduced to the rich man Zaccheus. Zaccheus worked for the Roman empire collecting taxes from the Jews in the land. So you can imagine that this guy was not the most welcomed guy on the block. Now Zaccheus, who was an outsider because of his job, finds himself again on the outside of a crowd. Then the story says that he did what rich men never do in the earlier culture, “run” ahead and “climb” a tree (v. 4). That was not suitable behavior for a man of his influence, but his curiosity and desire to see Jesus led him to forget the norms of society and run ahead, climb a tree, and to do it all to catch a glimpse of Jesus. John Calvin wrote, “Curiosity and simplicity are a sort of preparation for faith.” It is Zaccheus’ curiosity and simple desire to see Jesus that led him to act like a kid again. Perhaps more than anything else, pride is what keeps many from trusting Jesus. It is pride that tells us we shouldn’t run ahead or climb a tree to see Jesus. It is pride that whispers to us what people will think if we run towards Jesus. It is pride that tells us, we don’t need Jesus. In the story of Zacchaeus we see the opposite. A man lays down his pride and seeks Jesus…or so we thought.
Did you ever have a friend that was notorious for inviting themselves over? Zaccheus thought he was the one doing the seeking, but in reality Jesus was seeking him! Romans 3:11 tells us that the lost sinner does not seek. Zaccheus was not seeking Jesus. Jesus was seeking him. We don’t know how God was working in his heart before this, or what people had shared with him about Jesus, or even who was praying for Zaccheus. We don’t have any of those answers, but the answer we do have is that a seeking Savior always finds the lost.
Jesus called to Zaccheus and because Jesus sought after him, he was changed forever! He shows his inward transformation through outward actions. Can you imagine how much money he gives away? He was known for his riches and is now giving them away. Zaccheus is giving up his riches, because he has become rich with the grace of Jesus. He is radically generous, because God has shown him generosity. Zaccheus was not saved because of his good works. He was saved by the seeking Savior, Jesus Christ.
In v. 9 Jesus confirms the inward transformation that has been revealed through external actions. In v. 10 Jesus shares his purpose with the crowd. Remember the crowd was grumbling when Jesus invited himself over to Zaccheus’ house and he needed to clear up his purpose on earth to these people. The crowd was grumbling because they didn’t understand why Jesus came to the earth. “I came to seek and save the lost.” Jesus doesn’t wait for you to seek, He seeks fast after you even as a sinner (Romans 5:8). Jesus has invited himself in and is about to make some changes. Though Zaccheus was an outcast in the eyes of the crowd, he was a precious lost sinner in the eyes of a Seeking Savior.
- Who was Zacchaeus?
- How was his life changed by the gospel?
- Who were you?
- How has your life been changed by the gospel?
Prayers for Lent
- Thank God for sending His Son to seek a relationship with the lost.
- Ask God to rid you of pride and reveal to you where you can run after Jesus.