“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.”  Luke 19:8 (ESV)

Zacchaeus had an encounter! Something truly remarkable happened to this man when Jesus called him down out of that sycamore tree. Here was a sinful man who made himself rich because of his sinful behavior having a truly remarkable rendezvous on that Jericho street. Zacchaeus received Jesus “joyfully” (Luke 19:6), salvation came and without a doubt Zacchaeus was a changed man because of Jesus (Eph. 2:5, Col. 2:13).

It begs the question: How would you or I respond to a face to face encounter with Jesus?
Would we respond as Peter and the disciples did when Jesus walked on the water? The storm was calmed, Peter was back safe in the boat and the disciples worshiped saying “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matt. 14:33-33).

Would we respond as the man who had legions of demons cast out of him? Jesus sent him away to “declare how much God has done”. And that is exactly what he did throughout his whole city (Luke 8:38-39).

Would we respond as Isaiah did when the Lord, sitting upon His throne, revealed to Isaiah such an unimaginable glimpse of heaven? At this incredible peek of glory, Isaiah’s response was “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5).

Like Zacchaeus, an encounter with Jesus changes us (1 John 4:7-12). May we forever be thankful that it is Jesus, not ourselves, that changes us. Jesus pursues relationships with sinners, not a separation from them!

Further Study:
•Isaiah 6:1-7•Luke 5:1-11•Acts 9:20-22•1 Corinthians 1:26-31

by Eric Adams, Deacon

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