By: Rebeca Logan, Retired UPMC Chaplain, Member at Lycoming Valley Baptist Church
Since the beginning of time, God has been seeking people for fellowship, relationship, and salvation. Jesus manifested the Father’s mission in His own earthly life. Luke 19:1-10 shows how this works out practically.
In this passage, we see the reciprocity of both Jesus and Zacchaeus seeking one another. Luke 19:3 states,” And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd, he could not because he was small.” Meanwhile, this section ends with Christ stating, in verse 10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (ESV).
The word “seek” in Hebrew, according to Strong’s Concordance, means “to search out by any method.” In Greek, it means to “seek to find.” Although Strong’s gives more meanings and elaboration, the core meaning of the word “seek” supports God’s desire to be found. To seek something is to crave after it. Present tense means that serious efforts are required.
“Zach” sought Christ diligently. Rich, tax collector, but short, Zach willingly climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Christ. It took effort; he may even have been missing work, but he knew he must see Christ. As C.S. Lewis quoted in the Chronicles of Narnia: “‘You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,’ said the Lion.” Unbeknown to Zach, Jesus was seeking him as much as he was seeking Jesus!
Zach must have almost fallen out of that tree when Christ looked up, called him by name, and then commanded him to come down because “I must stay at your house today!” (v. 5). Zach responded by hurriedly climbing down, and without hesitation, Zach surrendered all to the Lord. Jesus used the word “today” twice, showing the urgency of needing to make a decision about His calling to salvation.
Zach did not let any stumbling blocks stop him, including the detractors or distractors: “And when they all saw it, they grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a…sinner!’” (v. 7). They questioned Jesus’ authority, motives, and even His ability to forgive a sinner. Zach ignored them and kept his focus on Christ alone and “received him joyfully” (v. 6).
There was no doubt; Zach had a genuine conversion. He willingly repented of his sins and then promised restitution. “The half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (v. 8). Christ then makes the bold pronouncement that salvation had indeed come to this man, as he had shown faith.
From that day, Zach was a new man. “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He had a brand new life in Christ, which included new goals, new perspectives, and a new peace he had never before known.
What about us? Do we seek Christ, ignoring the stumbling blocks that distractors may put in our way? If we profess salvation in Christ alone, how have our lives changed? Did we truly repent and make restitution? Have we surrendered to Christ completely? Read Luke 19:1-10, and put your own name in the place of Zach’s and realize that Christ still comes to seek and to save each person today!