How desperately do you want to see Jesus face to face? Do you ever think about what He might look like? I remember when I first became a follower of Jesus, I would squint my eyes in the darkness of my room late at night hoping beyond hope to just catch a glimpse of Jesus. As time has gone on I no longer strain my eyes trying to see Him because I realize that He is appearing to me in other ways; BUT I am still yearning to see Him face to face!
In Luke 19 we find a story of a short, selfish guy that really wanted to see Jesus. His biggest problem? People didn’t like him because he was a tax collector. Irregardless of whether or not you like the IRS, here is a guy who really wanted to see Jesus face to face!
Notice how the crowd responded: “(Jesus) has gone to be the guest of a sinner,” they muttered loud enough so that everyone could hear. What a shame. It’s no wonder that people aren’t flocking to church. For millennia we have been judging people’s motivations to see Jesus. If they don’t measure up to our standards then they just aren’t worthy to see Him. Here is the irony of the story: The crowd identified Zacchaeus as a sinner, but Jesus said that He “came to seek and to save what was lost.”
You may be asking, “What are you getting at Matthew?” Jesus has the ability to discern whether or not someone is lost or a sinner, you and I don’t. For some reason we are plagued with the perception that we have the Godly ability to know someone’s motivation and heart. It seems to me that Jesus is wanted to teach the crowd a lesson that day and that is simply that He can seek out lost people (because of His God-give discernment) and that He can save people (because of His perfect obedience to the Father). As much as we would like to believe that we can, you and I don’t have the ability to declare someone a lost sinner and we certainly can’t save them.
Let’s keep looking for Jesus. Once you’ve found Him, keep your eyes on Him.