Whenever I thought of this little man up in a tree, I focused on hospitality; on Jesus knowing his name; Jesus saying he would be a guest at Zacchaeus’s house; and Zacchaeus hurrying off with great excitement and joy to make preparations. This is a beautiful picture to me. I think it’s because I connect to joy and excitement at serving guests at my house.
Today I looked a little closer at the details, and I saw new things: Zacchaeus was a tax collector (a loathsome job); he was very rich; and when the crowd following Jesus heard the dialogue, they were displeased and grumbled, “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner.”
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. I don’t know who was in the room when Zacchaeus told Jesus he wanted make right his wrongs. Maybe it was a private conversation. When no one else was able to hear this man’s heart, Jesus did. Sweet Jesus knew this man’s name and knew his heart. And this, too, is a beautiful picture (and I’m not sure if it’s in spite of or because of a few ugly smears–not those of profession, status, or the man’s sin, but the rejection, mumbling and judgment of the followers).
6 At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. 7 After these signs take place, do what must be done, for God is with you. 1 Samuel 10:6-7 NLT, emphasis mine.
Lord, I am so very grateful that you look deeply into our hearts. The world can sometimes beat down with labels and condemnation, but your words encourage, lift up and assure that yours is the only opinion that matters. In the quiet or in the crowd, let yours be the voice I hear. Thank you that you know my name and my heart. Thank you that you change me from the inside out.