Luke 19.1–10 ESV
1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 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.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 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.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Last week we found Mary choosing the “better part” of what it means to welcome Jesus. Martha busied herself with preparations but Jesus is looking for those who will listen. In that moment, it was time to listen to the journeying-Jesus, to sit at the feet of the Master.
Today’s text is close to my heart because the song that teaches us about Zacchaeus is a favorite of my youngest daughter. For her, the most important part of that song is the line in the middle, “Zacchaeus, you come down!” She says it with an intense look and a furrowed brow. It makes me nervous for two reasons, 1) she’s serious and 2) it looks just like my wife’s serious face (ha ha).
But her emphasis on that line led me to the core of what I believe is the most important aspect of that story—Jesus’ command to come down. You see, Zacchaeus went “up” to see Jesus better, when really Jesus has come “down” in order to find us. It isn’t up that we are supposed to God to unite with God. God has come down to us in Jesus Christ in order to “seek and save” us (v.10).
And even after having come down and found us, He then journeys to a most special place to change us and transform us. Not to the temple but to the home. Going to Zacchaeus’ home and dining and fellowshipping with him is what brought on the closeness that is necessary for the heart-change. There in the meal, in the dinning and conversation, comes the conversion, the perspective change the put Zacchaeus in the right place to give his heart to Christ. In a sense, it was there, at the feet of the Master, that Zacchaeus was saved and made whole.
Christ is interested in journeying inward, into our deepest center, in order to affect the core. It isn’t the holy of holies that we journey to. Its the holy of holies journeying into us. This is what Christ does, packing Himself up and coming into our hearts and lives (John 14.23).
I hear Christ today, calling us by name and beckoning to “come down!” His desire is to walk with us into our own home so that He can change and transform us, just as He did Zacchaeus—a rich tax collector or forfeited his wealth to help others and payback those he’d wronged.
What trees have you climbed that you need to get out of? Will you come down? And if you do, will you go home and with Jesus and be changed? My prayer is that you will. Bless you this week. Amen!