Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Don’t you just love the story of Zacchaeus? Here the guy was a crook! As chief tax collector he was wealthy and had cheated all kinds of people out of their money. He was a little guy, maybe the size of Danny Devito – and probably a bit feisty to deal with too. The people called him a sinner and that was probably the nicest name they called him.
So here Jesus comes to Jericho and Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was. But due to the crowd and his short size he couldn’t. And given his reputation, I imagine the people weren’t exactly willing to let him through to see. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. Zacchaeus didn’t know it but he was about to have a “divine encounter”.
So there he was in the tree and when Jesus got to that spot he was probably stunned to hear Jesus call him by name; telling him to come down immediately because they were going to go to his house! I can see him scrambling down, welcoming Jesus gladly. But as they walked together to his house I bet his mind was filled with questions like: WOW??!! How did he know my name? How is this happening? Why me?
Scripture doesn’t provide us with what Jesus said once there, but it seems that the presence of Jesus provoked the righteous response that is typical of a heart that ‘wants to be found’. In Luke 19:8 we read:
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “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.”
What an amazing contrast to the rich young ruler! Who, when Jesus told him to sell what he had and give it away and follow Him, he turned away because he was wealthy. Here Zacchaeus, in response to the presence of the Lord, freely gave half of his wealth to the poor and promised liberal restitution to all of those he cheated. Zacchaeus was lost and ready to be found – and Jesus sought him out and found him!
May we too be led by our Lord to find those who are lost and ready to be found and introduce them to Jesus.