Today’s Reading: Luke 19:1-27
Key Verse: “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ Luke 19:5
There’s a story about a local fitness centre, which was offering $1,000 to anyone who could demonstrate that they were stronger than the owner of the place. Here’s how it worked. This muscle man would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and then hand the lemon to the next challenger. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people tried over time other weightlifters, construction workers, even professional wrestlers, but nobody could do it.
One day a short and skinny guy came in and signed up for the contest. After the laughter died down, the owner grabbed a lemon and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains to the little man.
The crowd’s laughter turned to silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the manager paid out the winning prize and asked the short guy what he did for a living. “Are you a lumberjack, a weightlifter, or what?” The man replied, “I work for the Tax office.”
In Luke 19:1, we see that Jesus is passing through Jericho on his final trip to Jerusalem, and comes in contact with Zacchaeus, a very wealthy tax collector from the top rung of the economic ladder.
In verse 3 we notice that while Zacchaeus is very wealthy and successful by the world’s standards, he knew something was missing. Notice that it doesn’t say that Zacchaeus just wanted to see Jesus. No. He wanted to see who Jesus was. He wanted to figure out what it was that made Jesus different from everyone else. He was drawn to this man who had just given sight to the blind beggar on the outskirts of Jericho. Now this healer was walking through his town. Zacchaeus may not have fully understood what was going on in his heart, but he had a desperate need to get to Jesus. He probably couldn’t even explain what drew him to see who Jesus was. Perhaps that’s how some of you are feeling. You’re drawn to Jesus, but don’t fully understand why.
Zacchaeus found out that while he wasn’t only physically small, God is a big God and a big God who is willing to meet with him. After meeting with Jesus, Zacchaeus said , “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.” The phrase, “here and now” indicates that Zack was not waiting to negotiate a contract with Jesus. He was fully sold out to Christ. Is this true of us today?