For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. - Luke 19:10 ESV
If the Lord ever needed a purpose statement, this would have been it. In one short sentence we read the real reason behind His birth, His life, and His death. He came to seek and to save the lost. Which included me! And some vertically challenged Hebrew tax collector named Zaccheus.
I love this story. I can't read it without thinking about the little Sunday School song I learned growing up as a child.
Zaccheus was a wee little man,
and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree,
for the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed him by,
He looked up in the tree,
And he said, "Zaccheus, you come down;
For I'm going to your house today,
for I'm going to your house today"
Zaccheus came down from that tree,
as happy as he could be,
He gave his money to the poor,
and said: "What a better man I'll be."
But while this clever little ditty covers the "chance" encounter Zaccheus had with Jesus and the subsequent life change that resulted, there's something missing, and it's the statement recorded in verse 10. What happened to Zaccheus is a picture of what Jesus came to do for every man, woman and child: To save them from their lostness. You see, Zaccheus was a "wee little man" in more than just height. He was lacking in more than physical stature. He had come up short on the righteousness index and was going to find himself standing at the gate of heaven unable to meet the mandatory holiness height requirement to enter.
He was LOST. A sheep without a shepherd doomed to get as much out of his earthly life as he possibly could because his hopes of heaven were blocked by an insurmountable wall of righteous standards he could never get over. Especially at his size!
But something remarkable happened. Jesus enters the scene. Zaccheus is up in a tree, attempting to overcome his height disadvantage and catch a glimpse of Jesus. But Jesus found him and said, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." Wow! Jesus was offering this sinful man an opportunity to have his home, and subsequently his heart, occupied by the Son of God. You can tell by the reaction of the crowds that Zaccheus was far from deserving. He was a known sinner. By his own admission he had become rich through fraud and corruption. Yet Jesus chose him over over all the others in the crowd that day.
You see, Zaccheus is me. I was once the same spiritually stunted sinner in search of a savior. I couldn't measure up. I consistently came up short on the righteousness requirement. I was lost. But Jesus was seeking for me and He found me. And like Zaccheus, my life has never been the same. Salvation came to my house.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound T
hat saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
– Amazing Grace, John Newton
Thank you Father for sending Your Son to seek me. Thank you Jesus for finding me. Let me never forget that like Zaccheus, I was undeserving of your grace and mercy. I didn't measure up. I was a "wee little man" unable to reach You, so you reached out to me. And I am eternally grateful. Amen