Welcoming Jesus In
by Alan and Clarice Smith 24 January 2022
Luke 19: 5-6 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, "Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today." Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy. (Good News)
In Sunday School as a child I used to enjoy singing lots of choruses amongst them being Zacchaeus Was A Very Little Man, and perhaps you enjoyed them too.
We gather from the story Zacchaeus like other tax collectors at that time, was rich because he bumped up the taxes to line his own pocket. I don't suppose he had many friends, we know that on the day Jesus visited Jericho, he found Zacchaeus alone, up a tree because he was short and could not see over the crowds.
The picture is of a solitary man, going about his work on his own, counting his money on his own, eating his meals on his own, and although watching the action from a vantage point, he is still on his own. But when Jesus calls him down from the tree, Zacchaeus seems ready, even eager, to respond to his request for hospitality. I wonder if the emptiness of Zacchaeus' life had been gnawing away at him?
Prompted by Jesus' presence in his home and without being asked, he blurts out his intention to give half his possessions to the poor and pay back what he owes people, four times over.
Jesus longs to enter our space and receive our hospitality too, but we have to be ready to respond, ready to change as our relationship with him grows. Probably Zacchaeus realised that he had become lost among his riches, that life had become impoverished by focussing on wrong priorities, but he has now been sought out and saved.
Welcoming Jesus into our hearts and homes can prompt unexpected changes in our lives. May we have the courage to let go of the things that used to define us and free us to find new priorities and peace.
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Heavenly Father, we ask that you help each one of us to examine ourselves and be prepared to make changes where necessary, so that our priorities are within Your will and consequently draw nearer to You. In Jesus' name we ask our prayer. Amen.