The Order of Things

Read Luke 19:1–10.

Zacchaeus was a short man, which was fitting, since everyone in Jericho looked down on him. That’s because he was a chief tax collector, and to the Jewish people that made him a traitor. Zacchaeus was helping the Romans, the foreign power that oppressed the Jews in their own land, making them little more than slaves. Zacchaeus was profiting from his treachery, even defrauding his own neighbors in the process. No one liked him. No one, that is, except Jesus.

When Zacchaeus heard Jesus was entering town, he wanted to get a good look. But he couldn’t see over the crowds, so he decided to climb a sycamore tree. His perch in that tree allowed him to see Jesus, but it also allowed Jesus to see him.

Here’s the amazing thing: Before Zacchaeus had uttered a word of repentance or even admitted he’d done anything wrong, Jesus had already invited himself over to the tax collector’s house for lunch. Hosting a rabbi, especially one as popular as Jesus was at that moment in time, was a great honor, and Jesus gave that honor to the most unlikely citizen in town.

Zacchaeus responded with a bold declaration, revealing that the love he had received from Jesus had changed his heart: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8). But this statement was a response to Jesus’ love, not a prerequisite for it.

The apostle Paul wrote, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Yes, we must respond to God’s love, as Zacchaeus did. It was only then that Jesus could say, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). But the order of things is important. God’s love always comes first. There is nothing—absolutely nothing—we can do to earn it. We already have it. Jesus’ death on the cross is proof of that.

2 thoughts on “The Order of Things

  1. Amen, Thank you always for such encouragement inspired by the leading of the Holy Spirit in you. God bless brother.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, Eva—and for the kind words!


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