19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “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.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Zaccheus was a tax collector, someone whose job it was to force his fellow Jews to pay taxes to Rome. He most likely got wealthy from taking a cut of the taxes for himself. So he would’ve been seen as disloyal, dishonest and an outcast. Yet this is the man Jesus elects to publicly show favour to. In front of this crowd of Jews, Jesus chooses to align himself with the biggest ‘failure’ there. And this public display of ‘electing love’ transforms Zaccheus. He repents and immediately displays the fruit of this, giving away his possessions and paying back four times what he had taken.
What a beautiful display of Jesus’ and our parts in salvation. Jesus calls Zaccheus by name and loves him. Zaccheus, transformed by this love, repents and changes. What incredible love, that Jesus would choose to publicly align himself with failures. What incredible love, that Jesus allowed himself to be deemed a failure when he was crucified. What incredible love, that chose to bear the punishment for all our failings, giving us a way to be forever aligned with the King of Kings. It is THIS kind of love that transforms.
Being the recipient of such love, is this the kind of love I show? Am I publicly aligning myself with the things and the people Jesus loves, even if they are deemed ‘failures’ by the world; even if it means the world deems me a ‘failure’? Lord, thank you for loving me with your electing, transforming love. Please grow in me this same courageous, supernatural love.
Written by Rhiannon Mellor