Lessons Of A Lifetime

A Guest Of Sinners
Or
The Fruit Of Repentance
Sunday May 22, 2022

Scripture To Consider:
“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus, for He was going to pass that way.”

“And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw Zacchaeus; and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Jesus joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’”

“Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”   Luke 19.1-10

Something To Consider:
Jericho means place of fragrance because of the many palm trees that give off a perfume scent for miles, and Jericho was approximately fifteen miles from Jerusalem. As Jesus entered the city of Jericho, a rich tax collector named Zacchaeus, whose name means pure, sought to see Jesus by climbing a sycamore tree.

Some might have commented on how embarrassing it was for an official who had climbed the ladder of business success, to have now stooped to the climbing a tree in an attempt to see Jesus pass by. But, in reality, according to Jesus elsewhere, “Unless we become as little children, we will in no wise enter the kingdom of God.” When was the last time we were willing, like a child, to climb a tree? Of course we need not climb a tree to see Jesus. We only need to open the living Word of God, of whom declares, “And the Word of God [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us [in the person of Jesus].”

According to James, the stepbrother of Jesus in James 4.6; “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” And in this day, in the place of fragrance, Jericho, God gave grace to a man whose name means pure. On this day, Sunday, May 22, 2022; have we received the grace of God and his forgiveness so that we can be seen by God as pure?

Something Else To Consider:
And in verse 10 of James chapter 4, we are instructed by the words; “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He [the Lord] shall lift you [and me] up.” Climbing a tree in public was a true sign of child-like humility, and always a first step in our coming to Jesus.

But when Jesus saw him, He said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So Zacchaeus, a rich man, a famous man, an important official of the city, a man of great means by the world’s standard, was still searching for what was missing form his life. Fortunately, for Zacchaeus and all those down through the centuries searching for truth, Jesus was and still is in the seeking and saving of the lost business.

This business Jesus inherited from His heavenly Father. We are reminded of this truth in 2 Peter 3.9 when we read; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us [you and me], not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The promise of salvation is gained through repentance. And God’s will is that none perish! It then should be our will to seek His forgiveness when required?

What about us? Are we in some small way, involved in the inherited business of the seeking and saving of the lost? What are some ways for us to become more directly involved in the seeking and saving of souls inherited business handed down to us from our heavenly Father?

Most born-again believers are not evangelists. Some are, and praise God for that! Some of us are called and enabled by God’s Spirit and His Word to become sowers of the seed of His Word. Some have quietly committed themselves to diligently studying the Word of God for a lifetime in order to be better equipped as teachers of the Word of God. Some have devoted themselves to the passing out of gospel tracts.

Some help to finance mission and evangelistic endeavors and the person to person ministry of the good news. Others may help in sending bibles to foreign lands, prisons, or to military personnel stationed around the globe. Others may help in the sending of talking bibles to the millions around the world who do not have the ability to read the redeeming story of Jesus.

Something More To Consider:
So Zacchaeus hurried down the sycamore tree and joyfully received Jesus and probably His disciples into his home. “But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He [Jesus] has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’” And yet, whoever they were, did not understand that the mission of Jesus was to seek and to save sinners, of which those who objected to Jesus’ accompanying with sinners appear to be in as much need of being saved as did Zacchaeus, if not more so.

But let us not miss the truth of this important lesson. Zacchaeus, while in the presence of Jesus, without a word from Jesus was convicted and then committed to right his offensive wrongs. By doing so, Zacchaeus enforced the truth that true repentance requires restitution when possible. That is a lesson of a lifetime worth learning for all seeking to live a truly redeemed life!

A Few Final Words:  
In other words, Zacchaeus’ transformation, which began with humility on his part, also provided fruit unto repentance. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus who prepared the way of the Lord; saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to John’s baptism services. He in turn declared to them, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath [of God] to come?”

John followed up his warning of the wrath of God that is coming with these words; “Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance.” Yes, Jesus was and remains a guest of sinners. But it does not matter how many times we may have gone to an altar, or how many times we have raised our hands at a so-called Christian event. What does matter, as did matter in the true story of Zacchaeus, is our bearing fruit worthy of true repentance.

Jesus answered the upward call of His Father to seek and to save sinners. As leaders and leaders in training, what upward call of God in Christ are we seeking to answer and to follow? For according to Jesus, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

If we are living in the end times, and I most certainly think we are, are we seeking first the kingdom of God? Are we seeking His righteousness in and through Jesus Christ? Are we desiring to live godly lives even though our biblically promised reward is persecution? Are we among the lost or among the saved? Time may be running out!

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, thank You for allowing Your Son Jesus to still be in the business of seeking sinners like us, in need of saving. Help us to understand what our spiritual gift is and to be about our Father’s business in these days in which we live. In Him Always, Amen!

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