Curiosity that led to faith

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10 (NIV)

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Consider: Jesus was passing through Jericho, when a man named Zacchaeus (a chief tax collector) probably heard that he was in the town.  Whether or not Zacchaeus had heard previously about Jesus we do not know, but we do know that in this instance he was curious to find out who Jesus was.  However, Zacchaeus was a short man, so short that it prevented him from seeing over the crowd (Luke 19:3).  This could have been the end of his curiosity, but Zacchaeus did not let his lack of stature prevent him from seeing Jesus.  We read that the action he took was: So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way (19:4).

Next notice that while Zacchaeus did not know who Jesus was, Jesus knew who he was.  In the passage we read: When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today (19:5).  Can you imagine Zacchaeus’ surprise at Jesus addressing him by name, but also that Jesus wanted to stay at his house?  It is obvious that while everyone thought that Jesus was just passing through Jericho (19:1), Jesus knew exactly why he was there and who he was there to meet (19:5).

Look at the reaction of the other people at Jesus announcing that he was to go to Zacchaeus’ house.  We are told: All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner’ (19:7).

Zacchaeus not only took action to see Jesus, he also took action when welcomed by Jesus.  What action did he take? We are told: But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount (19:8).  Zacchaeus showed to Jesus that a heart-change had taken place.  He was now willing to share his wealth with others and also to pay recompense to anyone he may have cheated.  Jesus took this heart-change at face value which is clear from his response: Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’ (19:9-10).  Zacchaeus was indeed lost, but now he was found.

In an earlier incident, also recorded in Luke’s gospel, we have the details of Jesus’ interaction with another tax collector (Levi).  When Jesus and his disciples were  accused of eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus said: ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:31-32).  A similar situation, with a very similar response.

On our way through life we will probably meet some people who are curious about our faith and why we believe in Jesus.  In these circumstances we should not pre-judge what the outcome will be, but faithfully to tell them about Jesus and what he has done for them (and us).  We should be praying that their curiosity will lead them to taking a decision to trust in Jesus, seeking forgiveness and salvation.

Pray:  Father, we pray for people we meet who are genuinely curious about our faith.  May we take time to share with them what and why we believe in Jesus.  We ask that they may come to faith, not because of our words, but because you have called them and drawn them to yourself.  Amen

Every blessing

© 2023

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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