“There’s no way ________ (fill in the blank) could ever place their faith in Jesus. That would be a miracle for the ages!” Whose name pops into your mind as you pause to contemplate that statement? Maybe it’s a rebellious family member, a spiritually hostile co-worker, or a friend stuck in an addiction. Today we will consider the notorious life of a tax collector named Zacchaeus. He was a traitor in the eyes of his people, a renegade who was far from God until he had a life-altering encounter with Jesus.
- Ask God to bring to mind the person that you think will never place their faith in Jesus. What do you think makes it improbable for them to become a follower of Jesus?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 19:1-10 (ESV)
1He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 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.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 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.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In the first six verses, what are some things that we learn about Zacchaeus? What does climbing a tree among a crowd say about what Zacchaeus was seeking?
- What stands out to you about the meeting between Jesus and Zacchaeus?
- What was the reaction of the crowd as they saw this relationship develop between Zacchaeus and Jesus (vs. 7)?
- Contrast Zacchaeus’ response in verse 6 to the response of the crowd in verse 7. Ask God to show you how you might be like those in the crowd.
- Jesus is a master at building relationships and communicating with people in need. What example can you follow as you consider how you might build friendships with non-believers?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus Christ was a life-giving example of what mission living is all about. He clearly presented his mission—I have come “to seek and to save the lost.” He lived his life with intentionality, especially toward those who needed to find life to the full. Jesus has come to find us, to forgive us, and to free us. That is the essence of salvation.
- Thank God for the radical power of the gospel—that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to deliver you from the penalty and power of sin.
- Ask God to give you a supernatural, Spirit-led desire to develop friendships with those who have yet to place their trust in Jesus.