He Sees The Value

***This post was written by Pastor Robbie Ashlock***

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” –Luke 19:8

God’s unconditional love changes a person. Once we have truly experienced the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ, we can never be the same.  When we give our hearts to Him in true surrender, He comes in and makes all things new.    

Jesus was passing through the city of Jericho one day.  Quick history lesson: Jericho was the first city captured by Joshua and the Israelites when they entered the Promised Land.  God commanded them to march around the city once each day for six days with the ark of the Lord leading the way.  Then on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.  Then God said, “When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a shout; then the wall of the city will collapse, and you can go in and capture the city.” Everything happened just as the Lord said it would, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.  On this very day, the walls around the heart of a certain man were about to come tumbling down.      

Jesus entered Jericho on His way to another destination.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was the chief tax collector and was wealthy.  This description tells us that he was not a very honest or good man, most tax collectors weren’t, especially the rich ones who made their money off over taxing the people to increase their own cut.  Tax Collectors were considered the worst of the worst.  They were branded traitors because they worked for the Roman Government. Zacchaeus was probably one of the most hated men in all of Jericho.
 
A crowd had gathered to see Jesus as He was passing through, and Zacchaeus wanted to see who He was as well. But being a short man, he couldn’t get a good view, so Zacchaeus climbs the nearest tree to get a bird’s eye view of this Jesus fellow.  So up he goes, but as Jesus passes by something miraculous happens. Jesus stops and calls Zacchaeus by name. Jesus looks up and says, “Zacchaeus, come down right now.  I must stay at your house.”  It’s almost as if Jesus came to Jericho just for him.
 
I love the way that Jesus interacts with Zacchaeus.  First, He calls him by name.  Second, He expects an immediate response.  Third, He doesn’t give him a choice; because, He must stay at his house, no if's, and's or but's about it.  This is where the walls come tumbling down for Zacchaeus.  He immediately feels the love.  Because of his position, he is probably one of the hardest and most selfish men in all Jericho.  But Jesus calls him by name.  And the Grinch’s heart grew 4 sizes that day.  God’s unconditional love changes a person.  Even though, everyone around Him is judging and belittling Jesus’ decision to eat with Zacchaeus, He only has one thing on His heart.  The redemption of a man named Zacchaeus.
 
In the middle of the meal, Zacchaeus stands up and proclaims, “Look, Lord, here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  Out of a heart that has been loved with an unconditional love grows a heart of generosity.  Zacchaeus freely gives back to the poor and those he has cheated because of the love that was freely given to him.  We could take a page from the response of Zacchaeus: Our offerings and gifts are to flow from a heart that has been set free by God’s unconditional love. We love because He first loved us. We give because He first gave to us.
 
Jesus then looks at Zacchaeus with loving eyes and says, “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 what was lost.”  Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost.  He saw the value in Zacchaeus when he didn’t even see it in himself.  He sees the value in you and me even when we don’t see it in ourselves.  At a time when many of us feel more isolated and alone than we have ever felt before, know that you are not alone. Jesus is calling you by name. He expects your immediate response. He won’t take "no" for an answer. God loves you more than you could possibly ever imagine. Let the walls come tumbling down and feel the love of the Savior.

Keep the Son in your eyes, Robbie

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