Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I am found.
Was blind but now I see.
Zacchaeus knew the words to that song before it was even written. He had experienced first hand God ‘s amazing grace. He was not blind but too wee to see. However he climbed up to higher ground in order to see clearly. Zacchaeus may have been small in stature but he was huge in heart.
When Zacchaeus heard about the man Jesus and it grew into a curiosity that had to be quenched. He, a senior and wealthy tax collector, wanted to know the answer to the question “Jesus, who are you?” He decided to seek and find out for himself. When Zacchaeus heard that Jesus would be passing through his hometown of Jericho, he knew just what he must do. He went to investigate.
When he hiked over to get a view, he found that the crowd was large and he was short, too short to see. Anxious to take a glimpse, wee little Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore tree where Jesus was in clear view. Small and insignificant as he may have felt, Zacchaeus might have gone unnoticed, but not to our Jesus. As Jesus passed by, Zacchaeus became his main focus. Jesus stopped. Jesus looked. Jesus spoke to him alone, as if Zacchaeus was the only one in the crowd. Then Jesus called him by name. “Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus come down, ” Jesus said. As Zacchaeus obeyed, he was filled with joy to overflowing. Jesus not only took note of this wee little man, named Zacchaeus, Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’s home. The next words Jesus spoke to this once stranger, changed Zacchaeus’s life forever. “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham, for the Son of Man has come to seek out the lost. (Luke 19:9) Zacchaeus was never the same again. In fact, his encounter with Christ changed him completely. “I will give half my money to the poor and if I have cheated any one, I will give back four times the amount,” Zacchaeus professed.
How has your encounter with the living Christ changed your life? Has He changed you completely too? As I contemplated this scripture, I was struck by the two words that Jesus spoke, ” Come Down! ” Two small words with great meaning. These two words gave a life-changing effect on an ordinary man, Zacchaeus . He was so small that he had to climb a tree to see, but found that he was not insignificant at all. I ask myself, who else in the Scriptures was asked to come down?
Paul had to come down off his high horse and change his religion. Once he obeyed, he became known as one of the greatest disciples of all.
Peter had to come down from his inflated ego. Once he was humbled he was asked to lead the church as our first pope. He was called to feed the sheep who were hungry for God.
Joseph in the Old Testament went from the favored son to falsely accused prisoner. He had to give up his reputation in exchange for God’s will for his life. When God freed him, he was restored to a place of honor and able to help those who had sold him into slavery – his jealous brothers.
Jonah had to come down from his own plan. Secretly he thought it was better than God’s. His plan bought him a hotel stay inside fish’s belly. It was than that he realized he was wrong. He came down from his rebellion and obeyed his God. His obedience brought mercy and grace to God ‘s people.
Jesus the Savior of the world, came down from the cross. His death brought life to the world.
Jesus says to each one of us, “Come Down!” What is God asking you to come down from? Each time when come face to face with our Holy God, our sinfulness is evident. We become well aware of who Jesus is and who we are. If we take the time to examine our conscience each night or frequent the confessional, or sit quietly in prayer, we can hear Jesus invite us to also “Come Down.”
In this year of mercy, take the time to be still and know that He is God. Wait patiently and let Him tell you what it is you need to come down off of. Is it a ministry that you have held on to way too long? Perhaps you have become so comfortable and have become deaf to His voice in this area. You are unable to hear Him guiding you to a new thing. Is it a longstanding friendship that is not bearing good fruit for your soul? You don’ t want to hurt their feelings but their friendship is hindering your growth in virtue. Is it the television or radio that is filling mind with worldly wisdom? It has been a habit that you cannot seem to break. Is it your job, hobby, or a friendship that has taken so much time that your family has suffered? You have became selfish and are unable to see the needs of those you love. Is it a religious practice that has become too familiar that instead of doing it to draw close to God you are just going through the motions? God can only fill you full of His grace as much as you empty yourself of sin.
Take the time this year of mercy to get close enough to Jesus that you are able to sit in His lap. Let Him speak to you. Let Him tell you what you must come down from. You must come down and empty yourself so that He can invite Himself into your home like He did Zacchaeus. Let him come into the home of your heart, and let there be room for Him to be welcomed. Come down onto your knees. Humble yourself before Him. I promise you He will lift you up, not into a sycamore tree but into the palm of His hands. He will call you by name and let you know His love.
You too will know the words of the song “Amazing Grace” if we but let Jesus into the parts of our heart that we once had closed off to Him. “Come Down!” Come down far enough that you can look up to see Jesus clearly. Empty yourself before Him and let Him fill you with His mercy and His grace. You will never feel small and insignificant anymore. He calls you by name. You are His!