Thursday, April 4, 2013

Loved And Accepted By God

In my last post I mentioned a story about a woman caught in the act of adultery... A crime worthy of capital punishment.

Though everyone around the woman was saying she deserved to die, Jesus told a different story about the woman. Jesus said she was forgiven and that there was no one who condemned her. Jesus said she didn't have to keep living that way.

This reminds of another story about a man who collected taxes. He made his living by taking advantage of people less fortunate than himself. What he did was legal and very well known.

Everyone hated him.

His name was Zacchaeus.

One day Zacchaeus, whom everyone hated, heard that Jesus was going to be in town and he wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The crowd had already gathered, so he found a near by tree in order to see Jesus.

At some point, Jesus noticed Zacchaeus and made his way over to him to have a conversation.

Now imagine Jesus' disciples and friends reacting as they saw Jesus headed over to talk to Zacchaeus, the man that had probably stolen from them and their families.

I can imagine some of them saying,
"Why would Jesus even want to be seen with someone of his reputation?"

Or some could have been saying,
"Finally! Jesus is going to put Zacchaeus in his place. I hope he lets him have it, and gets our money back while he’s at it."

I can imagine Zacchaeus being nervous as he sees Jesus approaching him... wondering what this man, who has a reputation of speaking of justice for the poor, is going to have to say to a guy like him.

It's safe to say that Zacchaeus wasn't the most popular guy around, and He would have been aware of what everyone thought of him.

So imagine his surprise when Jesus approached him and said,
"lets go have a meal together."

Sharing a meal with someone was a big deal and considered sacred by most, and Jesus saw fit to eat with Zacchaeus.

Notice Jesus didn't point out all the things Zacchaeus was doing wrong. Jesus didn't stand on the other side of the street holding signs with scripture references while screaming "REPENT or burn". 

And Jesus didn't pull a Kirk Cameron and walk Zacchaeus through the Ten Commandments to show him what a horrible human being he really was, before scaring the hell out of him.

Instead, Jesus showed Zacchaeus that he was loved and accepted by God, something no one else was willing to do.

No conditions.

No prerequisites.

No confessions of faith.

Just love, grace, and forgiveness, and it changed Zachaeus' life. 

It didn’t let Zacchaeus off the hook, or give him cause to go and live like hell.

No, love changed him... Because that's what love does, it changes people.

Jesus showed Zacchaeus a different story about himself. A story that no one had ever showed him before...

"Zacchaeus, you are loved and accepted by God. You don't have to live that way!"



GailNHB said...

Once again, Jacob, I am moved by your reading and interpretation of the Word. I've never thought of the story of Z in that way - as a story so similar to the woman caught in adultery. Well done, my friend. Well done. Thanks for these recent posts. I am enjoying them very much.

I'm Jkub said...

Thanks for reading and the kind words, GailNHB. I've enjoyed following along on your journey as well.