A Surprise Visitor (24-03-21)
Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-6
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.
A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.
He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him,
since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,
"Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."
So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
I have seen the Queen twice; once as part of the crowd in London as she was driven past to the state opening of Parliament and once inside Buckingham Palace as a guest with my godfather who was receiving his CBE. She hasn’t yet asked to come to my house for tea!
This familiar story about Zacchaeus takes place towards the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, as he is journeying towards Jerusalem. By now he has quite a following and, as he enters Jericho, the townspeople came out in mass to see the ‘man of the moment’.
Zacchaeus had joined the crowd, determined to catch a glimpse of Jesus, but being vertically challenged, he needed to climb a tree in order to do so. Imagine his feelings when Jesus noticed him in the tree and invited himself back for tea. We are told he welcomed Jesus gladly; I wonder if there was also a sense of awe, and maybe some concern that he had left the breakfast pots in the sink!
I find Zacchaeus’s determination to see Jesus challenging. What are the obstacles that get in the way of me coming into the presence of Jesus? How determined am I to overcome them?
Zacchaeus was an outcast in Jericho, a Jewish man collecting taxes from his own people on behalf of the occupying Romans; and lining his own pockets in the process. And yet Jesus wanted to spend time with him.
It is very easy for us to compare ourselves to other people and feel unworthy, an outcast. And yet God sees each one of us as individuals in the crowd and asks each one of us to invite him in for tea.
Jesus is asking you to invite him in today. He is not concerned about the mess he might find; he just wants to spend the day with you.
Will you share your day with Jesus?
What will you talk about?
Lord Jesus, although I am in awe that notice me in the crowd and that you want to spend your time with me, I invite you in to spend the day with me.
Only by grace can we enter