Are you familiar with the story of Zacchaeus? The Bible describes how he was a short man who climbed up a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Most people don’t realize why.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector.
Tax collectors were hated. They worked for the Roman oppressors. They were famous for charging more than was required. In fact, they profited so much that they were often very rich. In Biblical times, tax collectors were lumped together with prostitutes and “sinners.” Zacchaeus is described as a chief tax collector. No doubt he was especially hated.
Finally, Jesus came and looked right at Zacchaeus. He said:
“’Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.’ And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.”Luke 19:5-6
Did you notice the change? Even though he was hated and had few friends, Jesus honored Zacchaeus and his face beamed like it probably never had before. He was shown undeserved love and it changed him profoundly. He raced down with excitement and joyfully welcomed Jesus into his home. What is a beautiful picture of repentance!
Many think of repentance as some kind of action we must do.
Take a closer look. Repentance is a change of heart that comes when we encounter God’s undeserved love. It’s a change from trust in ourselves to trust in God alone. No wonder Zacchaeus was filled with joy!
If you view repentance as something that is painful or difficult, go climb up the tree with Zacchaeus and get a closer look at Jesus. Let him welcome you with his forgiving love and change your heart from trusting in yourself to trusting in what he has already done for you. Then, along with Zacchaeus, you’ll discover the joy of repentance.
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Additional Questions You Might Have
Do my works mean anything for my salvation?
One way I like to picture God’s holiness is as strong radiation. His holiness constantly is radiating out from him. By its very nature, it destroys anything imperfect with which it comes into contact.
Is Jesus a good example for my life?
One of the lesser emphasized biblical truths is that Jesus lived a perfect life, not just to give us an example of a godly life, but also to fulfill all righteousness for us.