Staying TrueOur ability to stand in the midst of trials will depend on the focus of our gaze.
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Who’s Seeking Whom?
The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).
Zach was a lonely guy. If there was a party, he wasn’t invited. In fact, when he walked down the city streets, he could feel the hostile glares boring into his back. But his life took a turn one special day. Clement of Alexandria, one of the church fathers, says that Zach became a very prominent Christian leader and ended up a pastor of the church in Caesarea. Yes, we are talking about Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector who once famously climbed a sycamore tree.
What prompted Zacchaeus to climb up the tree? He was seekingto catch a glimpse of Jesus. Being short in stature, it was his only way to see over the crowd (Luke 19:3). But why did he want to see Jesus? Was it because Jesus had a reputation for accepting tax collectors? We aren’t told why, just that he went to extraordinary measures to sneak a peek. He ran and he climbed—two activities that were extremely inappropriate for an adult government official.
The most amazing thing in this account, however, is that Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus too. He took the initiative by looking up and saying, “Zacchaeus! . . . Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today” (Luke 19:5). The word must is the same word used in John 4:4, where it says that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” It suggests divine necessity.
One Bible teacher puts it this way: “The biblical doctrine of salvation perfectly combines divine sovereignty and human responsibility. God must call and men must respond willingly. This is a unique picture, for only in Christianity is God declared to be the initiator and author of salvation. The only thing we can do is respond by receiving Christ’s free offer.”
Zacchaeus responded to Jesus’ seeking with joyful repentance (Luke 19:8). Have you?
—Poh Fang Chia
How does this understanding of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility affect your view of sharing your faith? What has been your experience with repentance before God?
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