Jesus the Life Changer
Read this passage: Luke 19: 1-10.
Let me give you some background information concerning this story. The Roman government have added Israel to their empire and were ruling over God’s people. One “divide and rule” tactic they would use was to appoint the natural inhabitants to do some of their dirty work; in this case we see they would take some of those who were Jewish, and appoint them to be tax collectors. Such collaborators were seen as traitors by many of their own people.
Zacchaeus took his job to a whole new level. He collected money for the Roman government, and anything he could extort beyond that he kept for himself. So his job was extortion, and as chief tax collector, he was a powerful man.
Zacchaeus really wants to see Jesus. But he is such a little man he can not see him, so he runs ahead and climbs a tree. Jesus comes and calls Zacchaeus by name. That’s really important. We don’t know how he knew Zacchaeus’ name. Maybe the Holy Spirit revealed that to him, but Jesus sees him, calls out, “Zacchaeus!”
When Jesus calls Zacchaeus, he calls him into a relationship. He does it openly and publicly. He says, “Zacchaeus, I’m going to your house.”
Jesus does this in front of the crowd. It is not a very popular thing to be friends with Zacchaeus, but Jesus is telling everyone, “Zacchaeus is as of this moment my friend. I’m going to his house. We’re going to eat a meal together. ”
Now here’s what happens. People in the crowd start to grumble “That’s not fair” because they know Zacchaeus is not a good man. Yes, Zacchaeus is guilty but Jesus forgives him. The truth is this: Jesus not only forgives people, he changes them.
Zacchaeus looks at Jesus, he says, “Lord.” This in itself in profound because it indicates that something has changed in his heart and in his allegiance. He now serves Jesus. He now belongs to Jesus. He now knows Jesus. He now loves Jesus.
Jesus is the Life Changer. You don’t want to continue sinning because something happens deep in you—you change. The Bible calls it being born again. You become a new person. You want to be different. You want to be like Jesus.
And immediately as a brand-new person he does something he’s never done: Zacchaeus publicly confesses his sin, he publicly says he is sorry, and he also wants to right his wrongs.
What does it mean for us and our story?
When people ask you who is Jesus, tell them this story, tell them your story.
Jesus says to Zacchaeus, “Today, salvation has come to your house.”
Jesus says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus comes today and everyday, he continually comes, to seek and to save.
That’s who Jesus is.
That’s our Jesus.
That’s Jesus the Life Changer.