One of the great joys of being a pastor is hearing how people became Jesus-followers. I have heard some incredible stories over my lifetime. Some make you weep, some are astounding, some are logical, and some are a natural extension of a faithful family raising their children to follow Jesus. The key in all these stories is the saving work of Jesus, not the condition of the person before they chose to follow Jesus.
The Gospel writer Luke intentionally included Zacchaeus’ story, and one of the reasons is that it was a really big deal. Someone coming to Jesus with a past resembling John Gotti is extraordinary. It’s extraordinary to us, but it is the bullseye of the target for His life’s purpose. Jesus disrupted the religious order of the day because He came to seek and save the lost. It does not matter how corrupt, how selfish, how whatever you fill in the blank with, Jesus came to save.
This week has been about Jesus shaping our priorities, but we’d do well to remind ourselves about Jesus’ priority. If we follow Jesus, then our priority is seeing His work succeed in our lifetime. Paul, one of Jesus’ most notorious followers—former oppressor and murderer of Jesus-followers—said that we become Christ’s ambassadors when we choose to follow Him. It’s like Jesus is making His seeking-and-saving mission come to life now through us.
Is there anyone in your life you’ve written off? Luke observed a group of people mutter about how much of a lost cause Zacchaeus was. Except Jesus didn’t see it that way. Over the course of a meal, Jesus changed this man’s heart.
Who do you need to share Jesus with one more time? Who do you know that you assume wants nothing to do with Jesus? Jesus came to seek them out and save them. Let’s join Him in that work today and every day. See you Sunday at church!