When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”
Scripture: Luke 19:1-10
As we consider Jesus and invitations, we may first think of the one found in Revelation 3:20. There we read: “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with Me.” Jesus issues a very gracious invitation and the individual is given the opportunity to accept or decline the invitation. We can see that this approach is very different from the one found in the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus that appears only in the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus enters Jericho where a very wealthy tax collector lives. Presumably short in stature, Zacchaeus is unable to see Jesus because of the large crowd that has gathered. The normally dignified Zacchaeus runs ahead and climbs a sycamore tree in order to get a glimpse of Jesus. As it turns out, Zacchaeus gets a face-to-face meeting with Jesus as He stops in front of the tree where Zacchaeus is perched. Jesus looks up at Zacchaeus and says, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” Perhaps Jesus recognized that He needed to take a bolder approach, that is to invite himself to be a guest in Zacchaeus’ home. Jesus may have departed from the rules of Jewish etiquette, but an individual’s salvation is oh so much more important!
The rich tax collector scurries down from the tree, eager and happy to welcome Jesus to his home. The onlookers begin to grumble about Jesus and this company He intends to keep. Overhearing and perhaps recognizing his previous wrongdoings with those viewing this scene, Zacchaeus vows then and there to give half of his possessions to the poor and if he has defrauded anyone present there then he promises to repay him or her four times that amount. Hearing Zacchaues’ intentions, Jesus announces that salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ house and that he too is a son of Abraham.
Song: “O come to my heart Lord Jesus: There is room in my heart for Thee.”
Lord Jesus, with Your infinite wisdom, You know how different we are and that we don’t always respond to invitations in the same manner. Sometimes You exercise boldness to get our attention and at other times a gracious knocking on our heart’s door achieves the desired result. Help us to be attentive and sensitive to the invitations You issue to us. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.