Great Plains Daily Devotional for 11/2/2022: Luke 19:1-10

Today please be in prayer for

Great Plains Conference bishop
Great Plains bishop executive assistant
Clergy excellence director/assistant to the bishop
Clergy recruitment and development coordinator

Today's Lectionary Text

Luke 19:1-10 (CEB) 

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus. 

Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 

Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.” 

Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” 

Today's Devotional

In the middle of bustling 21st century Jericho stands a tree. This tree is said to be the very tree that Zacchaeus climbed on that long ago day when he wanted to see Jesus. At least, that is what the guide told us as we drove past it on a warm day last spring. And then he reminded us of the story in Luke’s Gospel. Of how Zacchaeus, one who was a known sinner, had heard much about Jesus and wanted to see and hear him. So, he climbed a tree in order to see over the heads of those surrounding Jesus, because Zacchaeus was a short person. 

I’ve known the story since childhood. In fact, it is one of the first Gospel stories (beyond the Christmas and Easter stories) that I remember learning. Perhaps it appealed to me at an early age because I understood what it means to be unable to see over taller people when trying to see what’s going on in front of me. Or, perhaps it was the idea of an adult climbing a tree that got my attention as a child. 

Today, though, when I think on this story, I find myself considering the scene from Zacchaeus’ point of view. He knew he was an outcast in the town because of his role as a tax collector. He knew that he was unworthy of Jesus’ attention – much less a visit from Jesus at Zacchaeus’ home. How excited Zacchaeus must have been to be singled out by Jesus – over all the people of Jericho who surrounded Jesus that day. Even before Jesus visited his home Zacchaeus was repenting of his sins and offering reparation to all he had harmed.

I have come to realize that, as flawed and rejected as Zacchaeus was, Jesus found him worthy of attention. It didn’t matter to Jesus that this man was viewed as the worst of sinners by the people of Jericho. Jesus saw something worthy of recognition in this tax collector and reached out to him. Zacchaeus, in turn, responded by turning his life around and found redemption. 

Jesus knows each of us as the flawed, incomplete people we are – and yet he finds us worthy of his attention. Just like Zacchaeus, we have things in our lives that need to change – and Jesus offers us the same redemption he offered Zacchaeus. The question is, are we as willing to make the necessary changes to our lives as Zacchaeus was to turn his life around? Are we open to receiving what Jesus offers? 
-- Robbie Fall, retired elder

Prayer for Reflection

 Holy God, open me to the possibilities that are before me when I accept that you find me worthy of redemption. Amen. 


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