Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Title: A Changed Heart; A Second Chance
By Wong King Wai
Luke 19:5 – And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
In Luke 19: 1-10, we read of a chief tax collector called Zacchaeus. A Jew, he worked for the Roman empire collecting taxes from his fellow Jews. Tax collectors at the time were known to cheat the tax payers by collecting more than what is owed. As a result they were despised and shunned. Zacchaeus is described as a short man and how he became the chief tax collector is based on speculation. But I hazard a guess that he became who he was because he was never accepted for who he was.
Being a short man (v3), he could have been teased and excluded from normal group activities. So much so, that resentment grew within him that made him decide he is going to show everyone that he isn’t a pushover and that he will finally receive the respect he deserves. Single-mindedly, he rose above his station and became the head of all the tax collectors in his region.
While he was rich and powerful, I believe it didn’t take him long to realise that despite his comfortable life to spite those who rejected him, it didn’t bring him peace or fellowship. And in his heart, he longed to change. But having chosen his path, change looked unattainable. Moreover, the people around him probably wouldn’t have taken him seriously even if he had made known he wanted to change.
But Jesus did see Zacchaeus’ repentant heart. Hence, it must have been such a surprise for Zacchaeus, when Jesus self-invited himself to his house for a meal (v5). This immediately drew criticism – v7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
But because of Jesus’ interaction, Zacchaeus repented of his ways and made restitution for his past deeds, and Jesus commended him – v8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” v9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”
Isn’t this a wonderful story? Doesn’t it give a sense of hope that no one is out of reach of God’s love and no one is so corrupted by sin that Jesus’ isn’t able to save? – v10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
If Zacchaeus’ character describes you, a man or woman who has drifted away from God or is seeking to know God and Jesus as your Lord and saviour but you feel you are so entrenched in sin, know that you are not a lost cause. You are deeply loved and cherished. Pray for God to guide you to mature Christians or a pastor who can help you. Maybe the person who sent you this devotion could help you. Jesus is calling to you; don’t turn away.
For the believers who may know of people who just seem like a lost cause and in no way could repent or turn to God, pray that God will give you Jesus’ eyes to see through the facades people put up. Try not to pigeonhole people in categories or labels and think they will never or can never change. Many of them behave contradictory to what we think is good behaviour because of past hurts or traumas. Sometimes we need to show compassion and to reach out because if you don’t, who will? The Jesus who reached out to Zacchaeus is the same Jesus who lives in you through the Holy Spirit, and he will guide you to be an agent of change in someone’s life. No one is too far gone for Jesus’ love. We all deserve a second chance.
PRAYER: Our Father in Heaven. I praise you and give you thanks for your faithfulness in my life. Help me to be reminded that you will never let me go and that you have come to set me free from the control of sin and to give me grace. Guide my steps and the direction of my heart, Oh Lord, and lead me to where I need to be. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.
但耶稣看到了撒该悔改的心。因此，当耶稣主动邀请自己到他家用餐时，撒该一定很惊讶（第5节）。这立刻招致了批评 。 第7节 – 众人看见、都私下议论说：“他竟到罪人家里去住宿。”
但因耶稣与他的互动，撒该对自己的行径悔过，而且为自己往昔的行为作出赔偿，耶稣就表扬他 – 第8节 – 撒该站着、对主说：“主阿、我把所有的一半给穷人．我若讹诈了谁、就还他四倍。”第9节 – 耶稣说：“今天救恩到了这家、因为他也是亚伯拉罕的子孙。”
这不是一个精彩的故事吗？这不给人带来希望吗？没有人是上帝的爱不能及的，也没有人因罪败坏到耶稣不能拯救的。- 第10节 “人子来、为要寻找拯救失丧的人。”