Read Luke 19:1-10
You’re probably familiar with the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd that had gathered. So he climbed into a sycamore tree. When Jesus passed by, He looked up and said, “’Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house’” (Luke 19:5 KJV). Zacchaeus “received him joyfully” (Luke 19:6, KJV), but the crowd wasn’t so happy. They murmured about Jesus going to a sinner’s house (Luke 19:7).
But Zacchaeus’s desire to see Jesus was genuine. He told Jesus he would give half of his goods to the poor and would not only repay what he’d stolen, but would pay four times the amount.
Jesus could see that Zacchaeus’s faith was genuine (Luke 19:9), and He is the only judge of that. While today we may judge the crowd from Zacchaeus’s story, we are no better. How many times have we judged someone? How many times have we made it clear who we believe does and does not belong in the church? How many times have we refused to witness to someone because we don’t want to associate with sinners?
Let’s not be like the crowd. Let’s be the tree. Let’s lift people up so they can see Jesus and let Jesus be the one to judge whether or not their faith is real. We never want to be a stumbling block to others. We want to be inviting. We never know when we’ll encourage someone’s curiosity about Jesus —when that curiosity will turn into faith and a relationship with Him. And we never know when we’ll squelch someone’s curiosity — turn them away from ever considering Jesus again.
The fact is, Jesus came for sinners. He said in Luke 19:10, “‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’” (KJV). That includes you, me, and everyone around us. Who are we to turn away someone whom Jesus welcomes?
This is an updated version of a post originally published on justjenniferpurcell.com.
Featured Image by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos