Thursday, March 04, 2021

Mr Grumpy - what would change you?


All photos used by permission of Unsplash

When we think of someone, we can often think of a characteristic that describes them. It could be grumpy, optimistic, sullen, generous, or mean. I wonder what people say about you and, more importantly, what people say about me. The truth is that we all exhibit many commendable qualities along with our flaws, but often one of our idiosyncrasies seems to represent us.

There are often reasons for this! Maybe a lack of confidence stops us from being optimistic, or past failures stop our confidence from showing. Is it easy to change? No, not really!

It would be a terrible thing if we were known for being a sneaky, scheming thief. That is exactly how Zacchaeus was known. A tax collector who hid behind the tough Roman soldiers to cheat people out of their hard-earned cash. I suspect that Zacchaeus had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He was remarkably short. I guess he never really fitted in and found friendships difficult. He certainly was a loner in his adult life, and people looked down on him as a devious tax thief.

I think if he was around today, we would not have gone out of our way to befriend him.  Maybe some would say to steer clear and that he will not change.

There was one person who did not give up on him. That person was the Lord Jesus Christ.

Zacchaeus obviously knew of Jesus’ fame because when He arrived in Jericho, he wanted to see Him. Maybe he wanted to hear some of the stories Jesus told. Maybe he wanted to witness a miracle that only the Lord Jesus was able to perform.

Zacchaeus had a difficulty because he was short. He wanted to see Jesus, but the fact that he was ‘vertically challenged’ was an issue. However, he thought he could overcome this barrier. He put in a great effort and got ahead of the crowd, and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. This worked. The Lord Jesus came that way.  Zacchaeus thought that he was hidden in the foliage away from Jesus. The Lord Jesus knew exactly where he was, knew his name and what’s more, knew his loneliness and his problem.

Zacchaeus, the sinner, was confronted by God the Son. The Lord Jesus did not excuse his sin or condemn him. He got him to face his sin, confess his sin and receive forgiveness.

Zacchaeus’ life was changed. Instead of living for riches, cheating and lying, he gave away his riches and now wanted to live God’s way.

We are probably not tax cheats or as blatant about what we do as Zacchaeus was, but we all are sinners. God states this in His word, the Bible. We can not hide from God, He knows all about us, yet He still loves us. When we try to hide, we are wasting our time.

Zacchaeus had a conversation with the Lord Jesus, the Bible does not say what was said, but it tells us that the outcome was remarkable. Instead of greed, he was now characterised by charitable deeds.

The thing that changed Zacchaeus was Jesus Christ. His new good works did not save him. They were just evidence of what took place privately in his house.

We need quietly to pray to God in repentance of our sin and thank Him for sending His perfect Son Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the world. We need to trust in what the Lord Jesus has done for us on the cross. When we do this, we are promised our sin is forgiven, and Heaven is our future.

This changes our life and our eternity; we will want to serve Him through gratitude and look forward to being with Him forever.

Used by permission Messages with Meaning (24/02/21) Written by Stuart Scammell for Your542Day


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