Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Family – place for faith formation

LUKE 19:1-10

How do you know if there is true transformation in your life? Continual repentance. This means a change of mind that produces a change of way. It is more than regret or remorse (feeling sorry mentally or emotionally), but true repentance leads to a change in behavior. It is a 180-degree turn. It is wanting to obey the maximum and not get by the minimum.
In Luke 19:2 we meet Zacchaeus, whose name means “Righteous One,” though there is nothing righteous about him at this point. We are told that he is a “chief tax collector.” This was an easy formula for corruption. You had foundational taxes, income taxes and customs taxes (kind of like a toll for passing through the city). So tax collectors became filthy rich and were hated. He was born a Jew, but the Jews kicked him out of their community.
Jesus is saying, “He is part of the community of faith far more than you, Israel, are.” Jesus brings him into the community! Jesus brings outcasts into community; orphans into a family.
Zacchaeus wanted to get close to see Jesus, but not too close. He also has another problem. He is really short. He is so short that he cannot see above the crowd. Another interesting connection in context here is how Jesus had said in Luke 18:15-17 in order to enter Heaven, we must have faith like a child. Zacchaeus thought he was looking for Jesus, but Jesus was actually looking for him! It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us (1 John 4:10).

  1. Seeking the Almighty
“Zacchaeus, I cannot talk to you when you are higher than I am. Come down. Stop hiding and pretending. Come to me with probably extorted money under your robe even as we speak. But look at me in the eye. Let me see you as you are and let’s go to your home for a meal.” He doesn’t ask permission. Luke often uses this term to show that what Jesus is doing was a divine necessity, something that was planned in advance. Look at Zacchaeus’ response in Luke 19:6. He responds like how you would welcome a friend you have longed to see for a long, long time. With leaves and twigs flying, he leaped down, obeying Jesus just as He had commanded. He welcomes Jesus joyfully. The coming of Jesus to share his home is a sign of fellowship and ultimately of forgiveness. Blessed are those who respond quickly to the call of Jesus. In Luke 19:7, murmuring begins to move through the crowds. “He’s going to stay where? At this sinner’s house? He’s going to eat there?” But these whispers in the crowd do not seem to bother Zacchaeus or Jesus. May nothing stop you from your intimacy with Jesus. People may not understand and you may be ridiculed, but what does that matter if the God of the Universe is coming to your house. But look at how he responds to the call of Jesus he responded quickly.
  1. The search leads to faith formation

Look at Luke 19:8-10. How do you know Zacchaeus has been touched by the love of Jesus Christ? Because His life is changed. True repentance comes in the form of action. First notice he calls Jesus, “Lord.” That is always a good sign you have been rescued by the Lord. There is recognition of who Jesus is. Until yesterday, Jesus must have been just a Sunday School story, a grandfather in the sky or a picture in a book or a painting on a stain-glassed window or a life-less figure on a cross, but now He is Lord.
Second, look at his repentance. He says he will take 50% of what he owns and give it to the poor. Then Zacchaeus adds, “And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it.” “Giving is better than attaining”. Jesus responds with a declaration that salvation had truly come to his house. Look at what Jesus says here, don’t miss it: “Since he also is a son of Abraham.” Remember Zacchaeus was an outcast. The Israelites was born Jewish and bragged that they were so righteous and close to God. Jesus turns the tables on them and declares Zacchaeus as the true man of faith. Mankind is always looking for where they belong. Once you are found by Jesus, you belong to the greatest community on the planet: the redeemed bride of Jesus Christ.

As I close here, if you are away from the community, seek the Lord. He can see you wherever you are hidden and is calling out to you. You need to respond quickly and receive the Lord. You do not need to clean up first, allow Him to catch you and He will clean you.  Come to Jesus. Turn from your sin and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.

Soverign Lord enable us to seek you every day.Seeking and finding you you in our walks of life help us to know you better and increase our faith .pardon us as we have turned away from you knowingly and unknowingly.Help us Lord Amen.

Thought for the day
“O God you are my God Early will I seek you “ Psalm 63:1a

Rev.Johnson Abraham
The Mar Thoma Church Staten island
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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