Zacchaeus, that short, rich chief tax collector, “was seeking to see who Jesus was.” (1) I like little Zacch for that reason. Few people are doing that, you know—“seeking to see who Jesus [is].” Oh, many celebrate his birth during this season, but few truly seek to know who he is. But here’s the interesting thing: Jesus was seeking Zacch, too. After Jesus went to his house and probably ate a meal with him and his family (which really upset everyone 😠)—after dinner, Jesus told Zacch this: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” (2)
Jesus came to seek the lost. He was looking for Zacchaeus. He is looking for everyone who is lost. This is the good news of the season. For everyone who is lost—lost in sin, lost in grief, lost in addiction, lost in loneliness, lost in purpose of life—Jesus is looking for you. And the moment—the second—you look for him, he will find you first. 😯
Jesus told Zacchaeus he wanted to visit with him and Zacch’s response was immediate. “So he hurried and came down (he was crouching in a tree) and received him joyfully.” (3) So, according to Zacchaeus’ story, there are really two questions we must answer: 1) Are we seeking to know who Jesus is? and 2) Do we want to spend time with Jesus?
Most people are not seeking to know Jesus and they certainly don’t want to be found by Jesus. It’s not that they prefer to be lost, it’s just that they do not know they are lost. They actually deny that they are lost. Their lives are fine without Jesus! They do not need him! Jesus loves those people, too, but he is not looking for them. He will not find anyone who does not want to be found. He came to seek the lost—those who acknowledge that they are lost. And then he will save everyone who wants to be saved! From their lostness. From their hopelessness. From their wandering.
But then what? After we are saved, do we really need to keep seeking who Jesus is? Isn’t our search complete once we find Jesus? Can’t we just get on with our lives? Well, we can. We can live perfectly fine lives without getting to know Jesus. 😲 Or we can invite him to stay. When Zacch found Jesus—or to put it more accurately—when Jesus found Zacch, he said this: “I must stay at your house.” (4) And so the real question for us is will we let Jesus stay? Stay in our lives. And really get to know him.
I think Zacchaeus was astounded when he heard Jesus call his name. I think he was shocked when Jesus wanted to go to his house. And after Zacchaeus spent time with Jesus, Zacch’s life was transformed. Absolutely changed forever.
So, the lesson for us is simply this: Jesus knows our name. And he is seeking us.
1) Luke 19:3 2) Luke 19:10 3) Luke 19:6 4) Luke 19:5