Given a choice between riches and God, the man clung to his wealth, and Jesus observed, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25). The disciples were shocked because in their mind, rich people could do anything. Except let go of their riches, explained Jesus, which made it impossible for them to follow God, “but what is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Along came Zacchaeus, “a chief tax collector and rich” (Luke 19:2), just the guy to show what God can do.
Zacchaeus, in name Jewish, served Rome instead, collecting taxes for Caesar. This earned him the hatred of his people, but he favored money more than friends. Little wonder the crowd did not part to let the short guy up front, so Zacchaeus was forced to climb a tree if he would see Jesus. When Jesus stopped under the tree and looked up, Zacchaeus must have feared the worst–the holy man would call out the sinner, but instead, Jesus invited himself to dinner, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). It was not a request, but a necessity, not for Jesus’ sake, but for Zacchaeus’. The crowd grumbled that Jesus would “be the guest of a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7), and the sinner opened the door and let him in. Greed may have its grip on the heart of Zacchaeus, but grace is stronger. Grace is the power of God to do in Zacchaeus what he would never do on his own. “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8). God did the impossible and the rich man let go of his riches.
Father God, You are good and Your ways are good for me. I choose to follow You, to stay on the path You put before me. Made in Your image, I desire to look like You again. Thank You for Your Son, who showed me what You look like. Thank You for Your Spirit who day-by-day transforms me into Your likeness.
May my life be a reflection of You, so that I can say to others, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” To Your glory!