April 18, 2017
It’s easy to walk past a miracle and never look up. The true account of Zaccheus' encounter with Christ is well-known: the small, despised tax collector who climbed up in a Jericho tree to see Christ (Luke 19:1-10). But this small story is recorded to teach us big lessons about Christ’s ways in salvation.
1. NEVER MISJUDGE A MAN'S POTENTIAL.
The crowd, perhaps even the disciples, would never pick Zaccheus as a potential disciple. His size made him naturally overlooked; his occupation made him naturally suspicious. But Jesus never sees as a man sees.
Don’t ever be guilty of vain and destructive judgments about any man. Only pride makes us think more highly of ourselves than the most despised.
2. NEVER MARGINALIZE A MAN'S PASSION.
Zaccheus did several things a respectable Jew would never do. He ran; he climbed up in a tree like a school boy. When God has created a hunger in a man, you will be amazed at what he might do to get to Jesus.
All decorum is forgotten when a man is ignited by a curious, God-initiated passion to see Christ.
3. NEVER MISUNDERSTAND CHRIST'S PURSUIT.
Jesus came to the tree, looked up, and called Zaccheus by name. ""Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."" What stuns us about this story is the directness of Christ’s approach toward this neglected man—His deliberate, personal intentionality. With hundreds around him, He was aimed precisely toward Zaccheus, and He knew him by name. There was no stopping Jesus.
Christ is pursuing men. All the time. All around us. The reason for anyone’s interest initially in Christ is God’s gracious drawing prior to their interest (John 6:44). Never forget that there are men and women, boys and girls around you, (which you might never suspect), who have been prepared to believe. You must go to them, look up, call them by name, and invite them down to Jesus.
4. NEVER MINIMIZE CHRIST'S POWER.
Within seconds, this man was saved and then gave glorious, fruitful evidence of a changed heart. Why such visible repentance? Zaccheus had looked to Christ in faith and Christ's power had changed his heart of stone. He was a new creature and old things passed away like the morning fog before a full sun. He vowed to give half of his possessions to the poor and repay those he’d cheated four-fold.
Can a man—any man—change that dramatically that quickly? Absolutely, when Christ's power is present to save.
5. NEVER MISS CHRIST'S PURPOSE
Of all the hundreds who came to Christ, why is this man's story recorded for all time? It is an urgent reminder for those of us who can completely forget Christ’s agenda in the midst of a busy, self-centered world.
""For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."" Not only does He seek, He eternally saves those He seeks. And He can accomplish this transformation in the most common, daily moments with the most curious, unlikely people. A walk through any neighborhood can result in an eternally changed life, and a testimony that can speak for 2,000 years.
That is Christ’s purpose. And if we are to follow Him, it must be ours.
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January 22, 2020
The omnipresence of God is a reality (that God is everywhere all the time). “Where can I go from Thy Spirit?” David said (Psalm 139). And, since the coming of Christ and Pentecost, which was the sending of His indwelling Spirit to all who believe, the true follower of Christ is assured that Christ will never leave them nor forsake them personally. Once the Spirit comes to reside in the believing heart, He is there permanently.
But, it is possible to have our head turned by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We can quench and grieve the Spirit who lives within us. We can ignore Him or resist His leadership. If we do so, we will lose the conscious awareness of His presence. We will begin to operate on our own, not walking by the Spirit, and the results are always disastrous. We get what our humanity brings. Like an unseen guest standing in the shadows, He is still present, but not prominent.
January 21, 2020
January 20, 2020