January 26, 2019
To Seek and Save the Lost
January 26, 2019
The story of Zacchaeus is so loved and so popular that it will appear in almost every children’s bible. My toddler has a bible with only about a dozen stories in it. Zacchaeus is one of them – alongside creation, Noah’s Ark, Jesus’ birth, Jesus feeding the 5000, the resurrection, and others. When we get to the Zacchaeus page, my son always shouts “ZACH!” and points to Zacchaeus up in his familiar tree.
To a child, the story of Zacchaeus is fun because he was short and he wanted to see Jesus, so he rushed up into a tree so he could see over the whole crowd. But as we grow up, we learn that there is more to it. And the lesson of his life matters to disciples of all ages.
Zacchaeus is a reminder that we really can’t know the heart of a person simply by looking at them – or by knowing even a little bit about them. Zacchaeus was a tax collector. So it was assumed that he was a sinner and needed to repent for stealing and taking advantage of people. But the truth was that Zacchaeus had a pure heart. He had to defend himself to the grumblers. Because he was already giving money away, repaying people four times what he owed them. And Jesus stepped in and acknowledged his goodness publicly. It wasn’t Zacchaeus who was lost in this story, but the grumbling, judging crowd.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FIELD
- When you read this story, do you relate more to Zacchaeus or more to the grumbling crowd?
- Have you ever been judged negatively?
- Have people ever made assumptions about you that weren’t true?
- Have you ever done that to someone else?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- What do you think it felt like for Zacchaeus that people assumed he was a bad person?
God, take the judging and assuming out of my heart and my mind. Sometimes it is so easy to jump to conclusions about people. I don’t want to stand with the grumbling crowd. I want to stand with Jesus. I want to see the good in people. I want to see their heart. Help me to take the time to slow down and know and understand before I point my finger. Amen.