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.

每日灵粮
星期三, 2021年1月27日
标题:一颗改变的心;第二次机会
作者:黄经为弟兄
翻译:陈健萍姐妹

【路加福音19:5】 耶稣到了那里、抬头一看、对他说、撒该、快下来、今天我必住在你家里。

在路加福音19:1-10,我们看到一个名叫撒该的税吏。他是一名犹太人,为罗马帝国工作,向他的犹太人同胞收税。众所周知,当时的税吏通过收取比应缴付的赋税更多的钱来欺骗纳税人。结果,他们受到鄙视且被厌弃。撒该被描述为一个矮个子,他如何成为税吏长是基于推测;但我大胆揣测,他之所以成为当时的他,是因为他从未因自己的身份被接受过。

既为一个矮个子(第3节),他可能会被戏弄并且被排除在正常的集体活动之外;以至于他内心的怨恨不断加增。这让他决定要向所有人表明,他不是一个弱者,他最终会得到他应得的尊重。一心一意地他超越了自己的地位,并在他所处地区的众税吏中为首。

虽然他有钱有权势,但我相信他很快就意识到,尽管他过着舒适的生活去激怒那些拒绝他的人,但这并没有给他带来和平或友谊。在他心中,他渴望改变。但在选择了自己的道路后,改变看起来是无法实现了。况且,即便他表明自己想要改变,他周围的人可能也不会把他当回事。

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。”

如果撒该的性格描述了您,一个已远离上帝的男或女性;或许您正在寻求认识上帝和耶稣作您的主和救主,但您觉得自己在罪中已根深蒂固。要知道您不是无药可救。您是被深爱着,受珍视的。祈求神引导您找到成熟的基督徒或能帮助您的牧师;也许发送这份灵修小品给您的人可以帮助您。耶稣在呼唤您,不要拒绝。

对于一些信徒来说,您可能认识一些看起来似乎是无可救药也根本不能悔改或转向上帝的人,祈求上帝赐耶稣的目光予您,能看透人们竖起的外墙。尽量不要把人们归为不同的类别或标签,并认为他们永远不会或永远不能改变。由于过去的伤害或创伤,他们当中许多人的行为与我们所认为的良好行为相抵触。有时我们需要表现出同情心,伸出援手,因为如果您不这么做,谁会这么做呢?昔日向撒该伸出手的耶稣,就是藉着圣灵住在您里面的耶稣,祂会引导您成为别人生命中的改变的推动者。没有人已泥足深陷至耶稣的爱不能挽回的。我们所有人都应该得到第二次机会。

祷告:我们的天父,为祢在我生命中的信实,我赞美感谢祢。求祢提醒我,祢永远不会放开我,而且祢来是要把我从罪的辖制中释放出来,并要赐与我恩典。哦,主啊,求祢指引我的脚步和我内心的方向,引领我到我需要处的定位。我奉耶稣的名祷告。阿们。