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Fukuoka, Japan
Christian blogger, KJV Bible apologist, legal researcher, teacher, learner, family man, writer, entrepreneur, born Jamaican, son of the soil, traveler... it's complicated. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." 1 Corinthians 1:25-29 (KJV)

This Blog

"I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works." ~ Psalm 9:1 (KJV). This blog contains and explains the truth of God's Word. The Epignosis of the Word of God is what every servant of God must teach.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE

I recently read a post by a sister in Christ over at Christian By Association that talked about meeting people where they are and it inspired me to write this. Many times we neglect to reach out to people for Christ because of how they look, how they dress, the colour of their hair, their piercings or tattoos, and our perception of the state of their finances. The people of the day hated publicans and hated Zacchaeus as we will see. Jesus knew this yet He risked his good reputation to reach out to Zacchaeus.

Jesus met Zacchaeus where he was, at his level, and his house was transformed because of it. Zacchaeus’ story begins when Jesus entered and passed through Jericho (Luke 19:1). Zacchaeus was a publican, was the chief among them, and he was rich (v.2). (Note: Jesus’ disciple Matthew [Levi] was also a publican. Matthew 10:3; Luke 5:27.)

According to Thayer’s Lexicon, a publican was “a tax gatherer, collector of taxes or tolls, one employed by a publican or farmer general in the collection of taxes. The tax collectors were as a class, detested not only by the Jews, but by other nations also, both on account of their employment and of the harshness, greed, and deception, with which they did their job.

What’s fascinating is that this much hated publican Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was. According to the scriptures Zacchaeus was a short man and the crowds of people trying to see Jesus was an obstacle for him. The Greek context of this scripture says that he craved to see who Jesus was; he ‘sought’ with the expectation of finding (v.3). Zacchaeus did something very interesting. He knew Jesus was supposed to pass that way so, before the crowds came, he ran out and climbed a sycomore (mulberry) tree to see Him (v.4). Can you visualize the chief collector of taxes, this rich man, up a tree? LOL.


Jesus came to the place, looked up and saw Zacchaeus and told him that He would be staying at his house that day (v.5). While it is likely that Zacchaeus was well known, there is no indication that Jesus knew him yet He called him by name. 'Zacchaeus' means ‘pure’ and ‘innocent’. This should be a lesson to us. Just because he was the chief among publicans didn’t mean that his character was the same as theirs.

Jesus essentially said, ‘pure or innocent one, hurry up and come down from the tree because I will stay at your house today!’ We can see in scripture that Zacchaeus hurriedly came down from the tree (v.6). The Greek context of the scripture says that he hastily came down and received Jesus while rejoicing exceedingly because he earnestly desired Him.

You can read more about how the people murmured, how Zacchaeus gave half of his goods to the poor, and how he restored things to people fourfold, whose goods had been taken because of false accusations (v.8). More interesting though is that Jesus approved. Look at what Jesus said in v.9:

“…This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”

The word 'house' is translated from the Greek word oikos, referring to the human body, an inhabited home or building, all the occupants in the home, and all the descendants of the family in that home. We miss a great opportunity to save souls when we neglect to reach out to that one unusual person. Jesus reached out to one “reject” and salvation became available to his entire house as well as to his descendants through him. Jesus met him where he was and took him to the next level!

Wow God!

3 comments:

Nikki Weatherford said...

Wow, indeed! How often we forget where we were when Christ grabbed hold of us, and how far He's brought us since. Good post!

~Nikki~

Connie in Japan said...

Yeah... This really struck me too. How many times do we avoid the person that others avoid because of prejudice? When in reality - perhaps that's just the person we need to talk to! Secondly, I am always amazed at the amount of study you put into these posts! Wonderful!

S. Morgan said...

Thanks Nikki! I definitely cannot forget and I know there are many to rescue. :) I read your post when you first put it up, was inspired, and made a mental note to write something. This is it praise God! :) GBY

Connie, thanks for your comment. This post was like a double edged sword for me. I always prefer the underdog and try to assist them whenever I can but there are times when I don't. God really deals with me with these studies. They are my notes-to-self I guess. lol. GBY