The GospelLuke 19:1-10
Jesus 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."
Zacchaeus was a wee, little man,
And a wee, little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree,
For the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior came that way,
He looked up in the tree,
He looked up in the tree,
Spoken: And he said,"Zacchaeus, you come down from there,"
This is one of my favorite bible stories. It has it all. It has curiosity, non-conformity, mystery, and redemption. We will call our main character Zach (easier to spell). Zach is curious. He wants to see this man they call the chosen one, the Messiah. Zach is a bit of a problem solver. He is so short that he cannot see Jesus from his vantage point so he fixes the problem by climbing a sycamore tree for a good view. Jesus adds a bit of mystery to the experience by calling out Zach whom we can assume he had never met or even heard of. Jesus mixes up protocol by inviting himself to Zach's house for supper. Zach was a tax collector so he had very low status in first century culture. Tax collectors cooperated with the Romans and Romans were the enemy. At the end of this story Zach makes a commitment to change his ways and make things right with the people whom he may have cheated and to lead an honorable life from there on out. Zach made things not only right with the people, he also made things right with God.
So, what about us. How do we make things right with God. For me it is a continual effort but I believe in a forgiving and loving God. A little later in this service we will have the confession of sin. It is a very important part of the service and of my life. Like Zach I must vow to do what is necessary to make things right with God and with whom I may have wronged. That part, the making things right part, is integral with forgiveness. And yet, restitution cannot always be done. How do you fix it then. That again is where the God plays a part. The power of prayer should not be discounted. When you pray ask God for guidance and God will do just that.