My readings this Lent have included the account from Luke (19:1-10) of the calling of Zacchaeus. This is one of Jesus’ last recorded personal encounters with the public before his very public crucifixion. I have read and reread this little excerpt many times over the last few days and have delighted in various aspects of it. The thought of Zacchaeus, this short man shinnying up a tree, much to the amusement of those around him has amused me! Or did they look on and sneer? I have wondered what the word on the street had been at this time. Zacchaeus was so taken with the importance of seeing this Messiah that was being spoken about, so taken with the reports of his teachings and healings that he so desperately needed to see Christ first-hand. And so taken with everything that he had seen that at first chance he declares his repentance and then follows with actions of repentance, making right which was wrong. And as I have read this each time I have thought of myself being Zacchaeus and wondering if I would have had the passion to not care about the crowd around me and do everything I could to get close to Jesus. The courage to not just repent but to put right that which I need to undo.
Today though as I read through the passage the verse that stood out to me was vs 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” And I felt God ask me if I ever recognised myself in that crowd. The crowd that saw God’s blessing bestowed where it did not think it was warranted. The crowd that felt jealous of favour singled out not for them, a crowd that understood the need for salvation and forgiveness yet could not delight in that lost one being found.
Lord, forgive my selfishness and jealousy that seek to place me before others and replace in me a heart that delights in you.