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. – Lk. 19:8 NIV
Please click on the link above to download the full text of this Ministration.
The devotion today is a continuation of the first part with the same title. In that devotion, we saw how much Zacchaeus was willing to do to remove personal obstacles to seeing Jesus Christ. He showed earnest desire to see him, beyond normal interests and acknowledged his short comings (sins) by seeking solution to them and put in efforts beyond normal so he could stand out even though he was a man of small physique. This was what made it possible for Jesus to recognise him when he got to that location. The Bible says Jesus looked up to Zacchaeus, who by now was positioned higher than any other person, but told him to disregard all that as he is willing and set to visit him. He had done enough and his effort had received the desired recognition. At that point it was not going to be about the human effort again but about grace.
Christians need to realise that human effort may have helped Zacchaeus to climb the sycamore tree but it was Grace that found him. Once Jesus shows the willingness to see you, your effort, like oil in a lamp, though must be sustained, but it is not to be as visible as the Grace that was extended to you. This is because all works of righteousness are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6) and this became evident when the human accusers showed up.
Jesus had in recognition of the efforts of Zacchaeus informed him of the entry of salvation into his home when the people started highlighting, what in their opinion, was the sinful nature of Zacchaeus. They could not understand how a man who claims to be holy will be comfortable in the company of one they have come to see as a sinner. What they however did not understand was that as at that moment, Zacchaeus was no longer the person that they knew. He had received the mercy of God. Grace had found him. Like the case of the Prodigal son, he had long being forgiven before he had the opportunity to say all those words that he had rehearsed – Lk. 15:11-32. Jesus was no longer dining with the sinner they knew but with a repentant and forgiven sinner. The transition could only be visible to the spiritual person. The truth is that God wants a repentant heart. No one who desires to continue to sin will seek Jesus in the manner that Zacchaeus did.
The new personality was however revealed when without any prompting, he responded with the scripture for today’s devotion. In that scripture;
- He instantly indicated his willingness to give half of all his possessions to the poor. This was the same possession that he held on to tightly just before climbing the tree only for him to have the mind to show compassion on the needy. He had just received compassion himself and it was a new person that was in operation now. Indeed, when one comes into Christ, old things do pass away and all things become new – 2Cor. 5:17. Zacchaeus was instantly renewed.
- He was ready to pay back four times of what he may have cheated any one of. Whereas, the laws of God says double should be paid back in similar circumstances, Zacchaeus was ready to pay back four times value in restitution – Ex. 22:2-9. That was the extent he was willing to go to retain his Salvation.
How far are you willing to go to retain your salvation? He did not rule out the fact that he may have transgressed at some point, but all that earned him salvation was a honest desire to do all that is needful to see him through. How sincere are you in your journey with him? He is not looking for saints but for sinners who are willing to be remorseful for their sins. Do not allow the judgement of the world to deprive you of salvation. Be willing to let go of all that needs to be released so as to hold on to it. Nothing is too much to sacrifice in exchange for the safety of your soul.
For the one that is sitting in judgement, you are better off, facing the issues of your life. There are so many today in the church whose major pre-occupation is to determine who is qualified to be called a Christian. Know for sure that God will not consult you to dispense His Grace. Spend time running your race so you will not end up just being a follower in name and lose your place in his kingdom. May the grace of Jesus Christ continue to abide on us all in Jesus name. Amen.