This week I invite you to read through the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus was a guy familiar with the feeling of rejection. As a chief tax collector he would have been scorned by his community. In the account here in Luke we read of him climbing into a tree to watch Jesus go by. Apart from his height, I wonder whether the tree helped shielded him from disapproving glances too.
Michael and I are in the middle of applying for a mortgage. A mix of fear and anticipation fills me each time I see the bank’s number appearing on my phone. I fear hearing that ‘sorry, but not this time’. Even if might be a ‘yes, you’re approved!’ my fear of being rejected can sometimes be even stronger. It can make me feel like not taking the risk at all.
Whether it’s writing a job application, asking someone out, inviting a loved one to an alpha course or trying something new, hearing a ‘no’ can knock our confidence and make us feel small.
So, what difference did knowing Jesus make to Zacchaeus? How did it change the fear in him?
As Jesus passed by he spotted Zaccheus in the tree. He asked if he could join Zacchaeus for food at his house. What a surprise that must have been to Zacchaeus!
At the RTE service Michael talked about Zaccheus being known and loved by Jesus. Jesus knew how he was feeling, the fear inside him and how he had cheated others. But that didn’t matter, Jesus still wanted to spend time with Zacchaeus and share his life with him. Jesus loved Zacchaeus. He was willing to be associated with a ‘sinner’ so that Zacchaeus would know how important he was. Zacchaeus responded by changing the way he lived – giving half of his money to the poor and repaying back four times what he had cheated people out of. He no longer lived with a fear of rejection but opened his arms up.
Being known and loved by God gives us an ultimate sense of security. We won’t always get a ‘yes’ in life but that’s ok. The God of the universe and the man on the cross says an unconditional ‘yes’ to us – to be with us and to love us for eternity.
Here’s another look at our being known and loved video –
Known and Loved from Urban Junction on Vimeo.