Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Jesus came for the lost

In the small town of Gold Beach, Oregon, there was a very unpopular bin man.  You see those people loved their dogs, and in those days dogs could roam freely.  But the bin man had a short fuse, and he carried a hunting rifle.  If a dog came out barking and threatening him while he was collecting the bins, he would simply shoot the dog.  You can imagine how hated this man was.  No one would ever invite him over for dinner and have him in their home.  That’s probably how the people of Jericho felt about Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector.  He worked for the hated occupying Roman government.  Tax collectors were known for their corruption.  Basically he relied on the authority the Romans granted on him to exploit this own people.  Traitor!  Outcast!  No one would have gone to his house for supper.
Then Jesus comes to town!  Jesus is the man who invites himself to this sinner’s house.  Jesus declares that he came to seek and save that which was lost.  He says that he did not come for the righteous, but sinners.  He declares that inwardly all of us are poor, corrupt, sick and broken.  Unless we understand this we will never be saved by his merciful love. 
It had been years since Zacchaeus had heard his name spoken by a gentle voice.  ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’  He looks at us too and says ‘come down, I want to enjoy fellowship with you.’  Although your heart has been so hard that you have gone your way, not Jesus’s way, he still calls you by name and says, ‘I love you!’
Jesus loves you so much that he does all sorts of things to get our attention.  Jesus doesn’t wait for us to invite us in; he knocks and invites himself in.  ‘When we hear Jesus knocking, some of us bar the door.  Jesus then sets a fire in the basement to get our attention.  Then we have to open the door to escape the heat, fire, and smoke’ (John Miller).  He might smoke us out by showing us that bad habit we cannot seem to break, by allowing us to run ourselves weary, with a relationship we can’t handle on our own or an illness that brings us to our knees.  What is Jesus using to get your attention?  He uses all these things to cause us to give up on ourselves and cast ourselves into his loving arms.
Back to the little town of Gold Beach, Oregon!  A couple of Christians went to the bin man and told him that Jesus loved him.  It was good news to him, and he gave his life to Jesus.  He stopped shooting people’s dogs, and started going to church.  Jesus came to Gold Beach and saved that bin man.  He went to Jericho and saved Zacchaeus.  If we are willing to admit that we are lost he can save us too!
(Story taken from John Miller 'Saving Grace')

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More wonderful news! I'd like to see what you would write about having the peace that passes all
understanding. Who really has that peace? Do you? Happy Christmas.