Joshua 18:1-28; Luke 19:1-10; Psalms 87:4-7; Proverbs 20:20-21
NT: “He entered Jericho and was passing through. There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because of the crowd, since he was a short man. So running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus, since he was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today it is necessary for me to stay at your house.” So he quickly came down and welcomed him joyfully. All who saw it began to complain, “He’s gone to stay with a sinful man.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord. And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much.” “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”” (Luke 19:1-10 CSB)
I remember singing the song of Zacchaeus the wee little man in Sunday school as a kid. This isn’t a childish tale. It is the account of a spiritually lost man who had a child-like curiosity about Jesus. Tax Collectors in Jesus’ day were notorious for extorting tax money from their fellow Jewish brothers and lining their pockets with the overage they charged. Zacchaeus wasn’t just a tax collector, he was the chief tax collector and had probably become very rich taking his percentage from all the other tax collectors in the region. He was rich materially, but bankrupt spiritually – and was probably one of the most despised men in the city. There must have been some degree of emptiness in his soul, to the point when he heard that Jesus was coming through town, he ran and even climbed a tree to get a glimpse of this Man who could offer forgiveness of sin and peace with God. Zacchaeus was lost, and he knew it… and he desperately wanted to be found. Zacchaeus was the type of man Jesus was seeking out… he was the type of man that the Shepherd was willing to leave the 99 to find… someone desperately lost who wanted to find their way home. This is the only instance in the gospels where Jesus invites Himself into someone’s house. If you want to be found, Jesus wants to find you – no matter who you are or what you are guilty of. Through Zacchaeus’ desperate desire came authentic transformation and salvation as Zacchaeus confessed and repented of his sin in the midst of Jesus mercy and acceptance. On numerous occasions, I have had the opportunity to minister to desperately lost people in prisons and juvenile detention facilities locally and in drug and alcohol rehab centers abroad. It is always so refreshing to be able to minister to people who know that they are lost and want desperately to be found – and without fail, Jesus ministers to them powerfully. Jesus desires to seek out lost people – like Zacchaeus, and the men and women in the prisons and rehab centers – and He wants to seek them out through us, His disciples. Are we willing to leave the 99 behind to go find the lost?