Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner

He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner. (Luke 19:7)

When Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, he made it clear that it is better to be humble than to consider yourself better than everyone else (Luke 18:9-14). When he forgave the sinful woman at a dinner party, he couldn’t help but teach his host, a Pharisee, how much better it is to be merciful rather than self-righteous (7:36-50). In the Luke 19 reading, Jesus goes so far as to invite himself into the home of a public sinner, a corrupt tax collector named Zacchaeus.

To the crowd surrounding him that day, Zacchaeus was a traitor who served the Roman Empire and made himself rich at the expense of his fellow Jews. But while they were focusing on who Zacchaeus was, Jesus focused on who he could be. That vision for the man’s future moved Jesus to speak kindly to him and lead him to salvation.

There are times when we can be like Zacchaeus as well. We can take advantage of other people and look out only for ourselves. Other times, we can be like the onlookers. We become self-righteous and judge people harshly. We are all capable of holding a double standard—one for ourselves and one for everybody else.

Despite our shortcomings and our double standards, Jesus continues to reach out to us just as he reached out to Zacchaeus. It’s true that Jesus loves us as we are. But it’s also true that he loves us so much that he wants to see us become everything we are meant to be.

In your prayer today, ask the Lord to show you one simple way that you can become more like the person you were meant to be: perhaps more caring or more generous, perhaps more loving toward your family or more prayerful. As he did with Zacchaeus, Jesus is always ready to help you. He is always ready to pour his grace on you whenever you turn to him.

“Lord, fill me with your love. Help me to look at the people around me the way you look at me.”

Wisdom 11:22–12:2; Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2

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