The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost
Luke 19:1-27 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
11 While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 12 So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 13 And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. 16 The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ 18 The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ 24 Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ 26 I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27 But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”
In today’s text it says: He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” What was it that caused Zaccheus to want to see Jesus? It was not his need. By the world’s standards it would seem that Zaccheus was in a great position. He was rich. In John 6:44 Jesus says: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” Zaccheus was drawn to Jesus by the Father. He was drawn because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Here is the thing though, when God drew Zaccheus, he responded. He climbed up a tree just to see Jesus. Then look, Jesus said nothing to condemn Zaccheus. In John 16:8 Jesus says: “He (the Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Jesus didn’t need to say anything to Zaccheus to cause conviction, the Holy Spirit convicts. In the presence of the righteousness of Christ, Zaccheus was convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit and he repented.
Like Zaccheus, each person is drawn by the Father. It may be through the revelation of the beauty and majesty of creation. Romans 1:20 says: Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. It could be through the revelation of His word. From Genesis to Revelation, scripture reveals God’s love and compassion. It reveals His plan of redemption from sin through Christ. It could be through His works and His miracles. Mark 16:20 says: They went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Zaccheus responded to the drawing of the Father. We don’t know if the Father had been drawing him for some time. We don’t know whether the Father would have continued to draw him if he had not responded. 2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. The promise that it is speaking of is His promise to return. The Lord’s patience, His waiting and drawing is an expression of His love and His grace. In Revelation 3:20 the Lord says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. He is knocking. The Father is drawing. In Luke 14:16-24 Jesus says: “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’” Each of us must decide for ourselves how we will respond to the invitation and the drawing of the Lord. Will we, like Zaccheus climb higher above the crowds to see Him more clearly? Will we open when He stands and knocks? Or will we refuse His invitation, making excuses why we cannot respond today? He is patient, but one day He will return not as a gracious redeemer, but as a righteous judge.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, I am thankful that You are patient and that You continued to draw me, to reveal Yourself to me; to persistently knock until I opened. I and thankful that You did not condemn, but You convicted me of my sin. May my life also serve as a revelation of Your love and Your grace to others. May I be a part of their invitation and not their excuse. Amen.