November 02, 2022
Most of us are rarely pursued by others. If we are, it is often for the wrong reasons. The salesman comes to profit from what you have. Some come thinking they will look better by being around you. But for someone to seek you out with a pure heart and desire is an honor and privilege … the learning student, the loving suitor, the kind teacher, the faithful friend.
There is Someone who is in constant pursuit of people, for all the right reasons. The evidence is seen in His words and relentless search for others while He was on earth. Since He has not changed, we must assume that He is still pursuing people, all with perfect motivation.
Jesus came after a man named Zaccheus in the town of Jericho. We can look at this tax collector and see if we are the type Jesus is pursuing. And we will be overwhelmed by His motivation on our behalf.
Jesus seeks ...
And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. (Luke 19:2)
Zaccheus was an easy read. A tax collector was a Jewish man who had betrayed his country to work for the Roman government. He could make an honest living at this job, but no tax collector was wealthy unless he was stealing. There was a foundational flaw in Zaccheus’ character. He was willing to profit at the expense of others. He used people to make himself more comfortable. His character was shameful and visible.
Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. (Luke 19:3-4)
Who would have guessed that this small man wanted more? That he was so desperate that he would climb up into a tree just to catch a glimpse of the One who was proclaimed to be the Messiah? Something in Zaccheus made him curious enough to forget what others thought of him. He humbled himself with a desperate attempt to see Jesus.
Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. (Luke 19:3)
We all have limitations, but we rarely admit them, for to do so is to be humbled in the eyes of those around us. Zaccheus had some physical limitations because of his size. We can assume he repeatedly postured himself to compensate and make others think he was bigger than he was. But ultimately, his hunger for Christ became greater than gaining a reputation before men. He scampered up the tree like a schoolboy, letting everyone see afresh his limitations.
When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus …” (Luke 19:5)
This needy man had been called many names. But he did not know that the Son of God, the Lord of Glory, knew his name. Christ’s Father had knit Zaccheus together in his mother’s womb. He had created this man and knew every cell of his body, every thought of his heart. The greatest One in heaven and earth looked up at Zaccheus—personally, lovingly—and called him by name. Think of the emotional electricity of that moment in Zaccheus’ soul. The highest One knew him, loved him, and desired a relationship with him.
When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. (Luke 19:5-6)
Probably no one else knew the depth of Zaccheus’ hunger for help; for deliverance from the self-absorbed life that was eating away at his soul. But when Jesus called him by name, his heart leaped, and he responded with willing gladness. He readily came to Christ.
When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7)
We make our quick, judgmental evaluations of others and they of us. People had put Zaccheus in a category. Because of his past choices, he was forever labeled by some as “sinful.” He was ostracized and outcast. He probably thought this would never change and that he was doomed to a life of social alienation. But Jesus not only saw him and called him by name; He invited Himself to this “sinner’s” house, for the Master is always consumed with compassion. Zaccheus had no idea that the name given by others did not have to define him. Christ had a new name, a new identity for him for all of eternity.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
The greatest description of us all is that we are “lost.” We are separated from the One who made us and utterly incapable of finding our way back to Him. It was Christ’s mission, and it always is, to remedy this insurmountable human problem.
For people to be saved, they must be pursued. They will not come on their own. Any who love Jesus now do so because Christ Jesus first loved them. He is relentless in His pursuit of those who are lost. He comes to us, calls us by name, and gives us the incredible privilege of knowing Him intimately and fully. We have not found Him; He has found us.
You may peruse this list and think you are outside these categories, but you are not. As you realize you are one of those lost, sinful, searching ones whom Jesus pursues, climb a tree and look toward Him. He is passing by, and He longs to come to your house today.
Jesus, I gladly admit my overwhelming need for You. No one else knows me best and loves me fully. Thank You for your continual pursuit to bring me back to Yourself. Let me willingly run to You and be found! Help me see that any other pursuit if futile. You alone are my heart’s desire.
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