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Stand Firm/Love Well | What Jesus Showed Us | Connect

Stand Firm/Love Well | What Jesus Showed Us | Connect

Jesus… looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, for I must stay at your house today.”  Luke 19:5

He’d learned to ignore the smirks and catcalls that followed him everywhere he went. People hated him and he understood why. He was a traitor. He’d sold out. Even his family was disgusted with him, but money was a captivating mistress. Even though the people he wanted to impress wouldn’t come near, his new friends didn’t care how he made his money. He told himself he had no use for religion, but when that radical Rabbi came to town, Zach wanted to see Him. He was used to being shunned by religious people, so he ducked through the crowd, kicked off his sandals, and shimmied up a tree. No one expected the Teacher to stop, look up, and smile at him. “Hey Zach, come on down. We’re going to your house.”

Imagine the horrified gasps as the celebrated Rabbi chose Zacchaeus for a lunch date. That jerk? That short thief? Why him? Jesus could have looked up, shaken a finger, and named all Zacchaeus’ sins. He knew about them, and the crowd would have loved it. Instead, Jesus connected with him. He went to his house, met his friends. He enjoyed the lavish banquet bought with dishonest gain. Jesus never mentioned Zacchaeus’ reputation, but the little man fell at His feet in repentance: “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” It was simply the presence of Jesus that changed the heart of Zacchaeus, and we can take that presence everywhere we go.

Final Thought: In what ways are you working to connect with the people you want to reach?

Prayer: Father, in my zeal to help people change, I sometimes forget to connect with them first. I forget that your way is loving, patient, and gentle. Help me walk so closely with you that my presence brings you into the room. In Jesus’ name, Amen.