Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:8,9
Wow – a mighty inner revolution had taken place in the cold hard heart of this turncoat tax collector, Zacchaeus! His whole business had been to keep the poor – poor, and to skim profits whenever he could get away with it! But God had been speaking to him and this was the day when both his heart and his behaviour would change.
“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:8,9
Wow – a mighty inner revolution had taken place in the cold hard heart of this turncoat tax collector! His whole business had been to keep the poor – poor, and to skim profits whenever he could get away with it! But God had been speaking to him and this was the day when both his heart and his behaviour would change. Interesting, as he followed Christ, he instinctively knew what had to change – greed had grasped his heart for a long time. With his declaration of restitution, his salvation was proved to be applied and real. Jesus also reintroduced him to his Israelite covenant community.
Prior to his speech, the crowd reaction to Jesus’ visit with this man was very negative – Zacchaeus was a much-hated man in Jericho. But I have to imagine that as he actually carried out his intentions, that people’s view of him and his salvation would have turned around! Change of heart + change of behaviour. Isn’t that a powerful witness to the world! It’s hard to argue with life change.
Athenagorus was a Christian apologist and philosopher who wrote this incisive line in 180a.d.:
“For who of those that reduce syllogisms and clear up ambiguities, and explain etymologies; or of those who teach homonyms and synonyms, and predicaments and axioms, and what is the subject and what the predicate, and who promise their disciples by these and such like instructions to make them happy: who of them have so purged their souls as, instead of hating their enemies, to love them…”
In other words – don’t just talk about Christianity – live it! Paul said: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” II Corinthians 5:17,18.
So here’s the question – is your salvation encounter with Christ showing up in your everyday life? In what ways?
Pastor Leon Throness
I wrote a bit ago of a good Advent devotional for this Christmas season by Darrell Johnson. Melody Froc has written a short reflection on this book that you may want to order and go through this Christmas:
The Most Wonderful Time of All Years, A Christmas Reader for the season of Advent, Darrell W. Johnson
A number of years ago, feeling overwhelmed by the busyness of the Christmas season, preparations, decorating, social engagements, onslaught of consumerism, the rushing and running to and fro to capture the best the season had to offer my soul longed to get back to the basics and truly focus on the “reason for the season”. For something simpler, deeper in meaning than the next best toy of the year or must attend Christmas gathering.
I somehow came across this amazing little advent devotional by Darrell W. Johnson. It touched my soul deeply as I engaged in the daily readings which were simply written in simple English that was rich and deep in content and caused me to reflect on the message throughout the day. It helped me to see the birth of Jesus through fresh eyes and I felt as though it helped me draw closer to His heart for the world and His heart for me.
The book is divided into four parts, one for each week of advent. Beginning on Sunday with text from one of the four gospels. One the following days, a short reflection from Darrell finishing with a prayer taken from others who have studied and told the story throughout history, John Stott, Francis Schaeffer just to name a few…. Rich indeed!!
I feel confident this book will meet you deep in that place of longing, that place in our soul that keeps looking for the One who is searching for us and fill us with wonder, joy and peace that nothing else of this world can.
Discover for yourself what makes this season truly the most wonderful time of all years!!