Read Luke 19:1-10. Does God’s grace ever astound you? Have you ever been tempted to think, “Jesus, I don’t have a clue what you see in him!”?
There is no doubt Zacchaeus was unpopular. As a tax collector he would have been resented, even if he had only been collecting what was due. But Luke hints he was corrupt and charging people more tax than was due to line his own pockets. That’s the only way a tax collector could become rich. And he wasn’t collecting taxes for the Jewish religious authorities. He was collecting them for the hated occupiers: the Romans. He was a traitor in the eyes of his people. So, I guess it’s no surprise the people muttered against Jesus for even thinking about spending time with this rotten man.
But in yet another display of God’s amazing, mind-boggling, audacious grace, Jesus affirms Zacchaeus by inviting himself to his home for a meal and confirming he has shown himself to be a “true son of Abraham”.
Whatever we might think of someone, Jesus thinks nothing but love and affirmation for them. They are a child of God as much as we are. Jesus shows radical hospitality, radical belonging, and a radical extension of grace to those who we might prefer to avoid. Are we willing to remain open to the full extent of Jesus’ mind-boggling grace and generosity?
THINK IT OVER
Think about the following:
- In what way are we sometimes guilty of muttering about the people Jesus would choose to go and stay with? What can we each do to combat this attitude when it arises in us?