Dear Precious Friends,
We are in our final week of Christmas and as we celebrate this Fill Our Soul Sunday I pray you are filled with joy and love over the incredible gift of Christs birth. Our response is to this great gift is evidence of His presence in our life. Today's Chapter 19 of Luke is a great reminder of this.
There are so many rich lessons in this Chapter that this could be a devo a day all year.
The incredible parable of the King's Ten Servants is that reminder of what we are to do during the time between Jesus' departure and His second coming. Because we live in this time period it applies directly t us. We have been given excellent resources to build and expand God's Kingdom and Jesus expects us to use these talents so they multiply and the Kingdom grows. He asks each of us to account for what we do this His gift. We must be about our Father's work while we are waiting.
I am sharing from Daily Devo the following insights from Pastor Ed and will summarize at the end:
Luke 19:5–6: “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.”
In Luke 19, we again find a notorious sinner being drawn to Jesus. We read that this man was head tax collector, which meant he was basically the chief IRS agent in the city. Jewish tax collectors, who worked for the Roman Empire, were hated by their fellow Jews because the tax system was corrupt and allowed for personal profit. We can safely assume that he had become wealthy by skimming off the top of whatever taxes were collected. He was a short, little man named Zacchaeus; a name given to him as a baby that meant “pure” or “righteous.” No doubt his parents thought he was the most precious baby in Israel, and so they named him “Pure.” How could they have been so wrong? Actually that was exactly what God wanted him to be, “righteous,” but Zacchaeus had gone the wrong way in his life.
Something must have happened, though, because Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus; and Jesus found him, sitting in his front row seat, in a tree. Jesus’ statement must have startled him: “I must stay at your house.” It sounded more like a mandate than a request. This seems to be the only place in the Gospels where Jesus invited Himself to be someone’s guest. Such a notorious sinner as a chief tax collector might have been nervous about being visited by Jesus, but Zacchaeus’ heart was prepared.
In the end, Zacchaeus repented and promised to make good his larceny, “I [will] restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). His willingness to make restitution was proof that his conversion was genuine, but we must emphasize that this action was a sign of fruit in his life and not the cause of his salvation. This was the end result of the salvation that Jesus had brought to his life. The law required a penalty of one-fifth as restitution for money acquired by fraud (Lev. 6:5), but Zacchaeus was determined to do more than what was required. He judged his own crime severely, since much of his wealth had probably been acquired fraudulently. This was to be a costly commitment for him, because on top of that, he gave half his goods to the poor. However, from the perspective of eternity, this was the smartest bargain ever wrought. Zacchaeus had found incomprehensible, eternal, spiritual riches and did not mind the loss of temporal, material riches.
“Thank you, LORD, for the incomprehensible, spiritual riches You have given to us. Help us to serve You well this day.” Jesus is joyful to receive sinners, and they are joyful to be saved. We know that the joy of Jesus is greater, because it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Zacchaeus is a model to everyone of how to receive Jesus:
Receive Jesus by seeking after Him with real effort.
Receive Jesus by humbling yourself.
Receive Jesus no matter how sinful or hated you are.
Receive Jesus as He invites you by name.
Receive Jesus without delay.
Receive Jesus by coming down to Him.
Receive Jesus Himself.
Receive Jesus into your life, your home.
Receive Jesus joyfully.
Receive Jesus despite what other say.
Receive Jesus with repentance and restitution.
WOW... this is such a great reminder of truth.