“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’” Luke 19:1-10
When God grabs a heart, a life changes. The Spirit prompted the greedy Zaccheus with curiosity, and compelled him to investigate this Jesus he’d been hearing about. He took time and effort to get in His way, to position himself to watch and listen, and Jesus called him. With a spiritually quickened heart, he hastened to respond and get closer, receiving Jesus into his home and heart gladly. And he changed.
What had mattered to Zaccheus mattered no more. His consternation and wariness of others, his hardened mask, were dissolved in joy. His greed and need for more and more were gone– he would give away what he had skimmed off the taxes he collected. He owned up to his defrauding, heretofore hidden, squelched, and justified– and he would make generous restitution.
The Savior of the world who redeems us redeems all of us– our inclinations, our affections, our perception and understanding. Where once we were hard and stubborn, He makes us soft and malleable. Where we were impatient and driven, He creates patience and desire to heed His call. In places we saw only the temporal, and that with limited sight, God gives eternal perspective, a broad and long view. Where there is a bent toward empty, carnal, worldly entertainment, He stokes craving for what is significant, beautiful, lasting.
Hostility is transformed to holiness, defiance to glad submission, despair to certain hope, anxiety to grateful peace. We who were blind, see; who were dead, are alive; who were alienated, now adopted; who were enemies, are friends. (John 9:25; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Ephesians 2:5; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 Peter 2:9-10)
If Jesus so converts us, would we seek and expect Him to transform those we love? Are we praying believing His mercy and power can overwhelm their doubts and win their souls away from rebellion and unbelief? How boldly are we proclaiming the truth of His redeeming love? How lucid is our life’s evidence to His Spirit-worked metamorphosis in us, so others are attracted to the change Jesus offers?
Great Redeemer, by Your Spirit transform Your people from glory to glory as we behold, love, and follow You. Through us draw others to Your life-changing light. (2 Corinthians 3:18)