Seekers Becoming Believers

Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

Zacchaeus was a seeker who wanted to become a believer.

 

The importance and urgency of his quest came together when he heard that Jesus was walking through his hometown of Jericho.  The “time” was now and he needed to get himself to Jesus.

 

But how?  As a short man he would not be able to see Jesus if he stood among the crowd.  So he saw a sycamore (fig & mulberry) tree as his way to Jesus.  With a short trunk and broad limbs this tree was easy for Zacchaeus to climb.  When Jesus saw him in the tree, he looked into Zacchaeus’ soul and saw a person who was living in public desperation.

 

Zacchaeus’ ached to live out the meaning of his name, “pure.”  He had heard Jesus say “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”  Zacchaeus wanted to heal the disconnect between who he could be and who he actually was.  Every seeker knows this ache.

 

So when Jesus called out to invite Zacchaeus to come down from the tree, He walked with him through the crowd and into his plush home … and Zacchaeus jumped to run into the changed life Jesus was offering him.

 

Zacchaeus “saw” God because Jesus had “purified” his soul.  Then the fun began for everyone else.  Zacchaeus enacted his remorse for having hurt people through abuse of his power and thereby he gave half of his possessions to the poor.  And if others could show him his guilt, then he would make restitution four times the amount of his sin.  He felt the connection of “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

 

Jesus had reconciled Zacchaeus to Himself in such a way that Zacchaeus could be reconciled to all of Jericho.

 

A commitment to the Lordship of Christ and the biblical message of living in right relationships undergirds a healed community.

 

Zacchaeus, who upon accepting Christ, realized that he needed to act rightly toward all the people with whom the teachings of Scripture.  They were then compelled by the Holy Spirit to make things right with those whom they had harmed.  By being reconciled to God, Zacchaeus received the desire, courage and faith to be reconciled into an honest relationship with people. 

 

Zacchaeus’ story reminds me of a brother from Uganda who described the “4 Pillars Approach” to reconciliation:

 

Repentance before God;

Reconciliation before people;

Restitution by putting things right, and;

Resurrection by walking in the light.

 

Jesus summary statement of this miracle revealed the thread that connected his entire ministry, including what we are hearing as we listen to the New Testament … “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

 

Pastor Les Hollon

 

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

-Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)

 

Photo:  Scan from 19th century bible storybook, Half Hours With the Bible, New Testament, New York: Clifton Publishing Company.  Jesus coming through Jericho.  Zacchaeus is in tree, so he could see Jesus.  Public domain.

 

 

This article was written by Les Hollon, Pastorof Trinity Baptist Church.  For more information about God and your place in His world, contact Dr. Hollon, click over to Trinity Baptist Church.

 

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Posted on 2 March, 2010 in Inspirational Stories, Spirituality
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