“And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (Luke 19:3, NKJV).
Some of you know that this is the story of the tax collector who wanted to see Jesus. The Bible says that he was small in stature, but he had a desire to see Jesus. His desire was so strong that he did not let his status, height, nor crowd get in his way. So Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus, but Jesus sees him. Jesus calls him by name and says “I’m going to your house.” The people see this and call Zacchaeus a sinner. Jesus sees Zacchaeus and the people sees a sinner.
Church, we have a bad habit of seeing the sins of people and not seeing them the way God sees them. We must be honest with ourselves and know that there has been a Zacchaeus or two who have left our churches, because we saw a sinner and not a Zacchaeus. We see/saw the liar, the cheater, the drug user, the alcoholic, the “creeping” man and woman, homosexual, the Republican, the Democrat, that person you really don’t like at work, etc; when all they wanted to see was Jesus. We must learn to accept them and let them see Jesus lifted up. For it was Jesus who said “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me.” Let’s stop lifting up sins and lift up Jesus. It is Jesus who is the heart fixer and the mind regulator. Therefore let us lift Him up, move out of the way, and let Him do His job.
Jesus encounter with Zacchaeus ended with Jesus saving his house. In my sanctified imagination, Jesus was not talking about the thing that sits on a concrete slab of foundation. I believe that Jesus was talking about his heart. This text is evident of what happens when we allow Jesus to have His way. This is not to say that you do not call a sin a sin. We just have to do a better job at understanding people are not their sins. In spite of all they have done, they are still God’s “workmanship.”
There is a song by Tasha Cobbs-Leonard entitled “You Know My Name.” The song has been in my spirit and makes me realize that I am glad that God called me by name and not by my sins. Church, when we go back to the day that Jesus found us, called us out of our Zacchaeus moment, and said “I want to go to your house;” it should motivate us to love, accept, and allow our neighbors to see Jesus.
Reverend DeRon Harper is an Associate Minister at Baconton Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.