“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.” All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'” Luke 19:5-7.
Jesus was often criticized for being ‘a friend of sinners’. Zacchaeus was the Receiver General in the customs department who was responsible to collect taxes from the Jews, even though he was a Jew himself. The Jews considered Zacchaeus a traitor and a thief who accepted bribes ruthlessly from the people and who ran a ring of corruption with a team of hostile collectors, BUT Jesus is a friend of sinners.
Jesus felt comfortable going to this man’s house – a sinner’s house. People did not understand the mission or the methods of Jesus. In his book “Knowing God”, J.I. Packer writes, “There is tremendous relief in knowing that God’s love for me is based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst in me… Indeed, He sees more corruption in me than I see in myself. Yet He wants to be my friend and desires to be my friend and has given His Son to die for me in order for me to realize this purpose.”
Zacchaeus was saved by the love of Jesus and not His judgement. In repentance Zacchaeus said to Jesus, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:8-10. Yes, Jesus is a friend of sinners. He came to save us all.
I thank God for His love and mercy towards me and every person in our world.
Read the Bible in One Year: Psalms 70,71; Romans 8:22-39