He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
by Jennifer Creagar, Community Assistance Coordination Director
One of the most healing prayers is the one we pray when we confess our sins and shortcomings to God, and realize that God sees us, and forgives us.
In today’s Scripture, we meet Zaccheaus, a man who had taken advantage of his position as a tax collector to become rich. His money and power had not made him beloved in his community-–his neighbors all viewed him as a sinner, a bad man, and had as little contact with him as possible. He couldn’t even get a place on the side of the road to view Jesus as he passed through. He had heard about Jesus and wanted to see him so much, he made the undignified move of climbing up a tree. Instead of passing by and waving to the crowd, Jesus saw Zaccheaus, and stopped to tell him to come down from his perch in the tree and invite him into his house. The crowd was shocked, but Jesus had really seen Zaccheaus, and knew that he was lost and ready to be found.
And, in response, Zaccheaus spoke to Jesus, and declared his intention to live differently, to give half of what he had to the poor, and to make amends to those he had hurt and cheated, four times over. And Jesus declared that this lost man had been saved, because that was the whole reason Jesus was there – to seek and save the lost. This man, Zaccheaus, was saved and no longer lost. He could accept that he was seen, and loved, and forgiven.
We can do that, too. We can feel the healing of God’s forgiveness. We can accept that we are seen by the God who created us, loves us, and came to us to save us from being lost in the mess of our poor choices and actions we regret. We all carry our sins with us. We put a lot of effort into trying not to be seen, while all the time, what we need is what Zaccheaus realized-–we need to accept that Jesus sees us in all of our mess and sin, and came to forgive us and save us from being lost. That’s why we receive great healing when we stand in front of God (or kneel, or sit in our quiet place) and say,
“God, I know you see me. You know what I have done. You know when I have not loved my neighbor, when I said those words that hurt, when I did not use the blessings you’ve given me for good and for others. I want to be different. I want to make amends. I want to live the way you have shown me to live. Thank you for coming to find me and lead me back to you. Amen.
Click Here to download this weeks Lenten Guide.
The Lenten Guide is a tool to encourage families to spend time together in prayer, conversations, and discovery. Make time on Sunday afternoons or an evening at the dinner table each week as we approach the hope of Easter. Consider using the following tips/guidelines as you share this time:
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