“Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’ Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. ‘He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,’ they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’. Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’
Luke 19:1-10 (NLT)
If Christ is the Son of God, the anointed One who came to us, why has He come? Jesus announced His purpose, recorded in this passage by Luke, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” In our world we see so much brokenness and all of us are lost in some way or another when we do not know Jesus. The story of Zacchaeus shows us how meeting Jesus profoundly changes lives.
Zacchaeus was a Jew who had grown rich from the suffering of his own people. He worked for the Romans, the oppressive rulers at the time. Zacchaeus had lost his connection to God by choosing not to live as God called His people to live. He had also broken his connection to his community, who hated him for being a tax collector.
Zacchaeus probably experienced the sensations we all experience when we realize we have lost something: fear, frustration and becoming frantic to find it again. He had heard of Jesus and climbed a tree because the crowd prevented him from getting even a glimpse. What he didn’t know was that as he sought Jesus, Jesus was seeking him: a lost person. When we feel lost, whether in our connection to God, to others or to ourselves and our purpose, it helps to know that Jesus cares for us and is seeking us. He is not fearful, He is not frantic or frustrated - Jesus knows exactly where you are. If we just turn to Him where we are, He brings light into our dark world (John 12:46).
Jesus shines a light on our foggy notions, revealing to us the truth of:
- Who God is;
- How we are called to love each other; and
- God’s vision for us and His purpose for our lives.
When Zacchaeus met Jesus, there was excitement but also restoration and new life. Jesus offers salvation to people trapped in sin: He saves those who are lost. In one moment, Zacchaeus was reconnected with God, with his community and with his purpose.
The Purpose of Christ is:
- To reveal the Father to the world – showing the world who their God really is and how He wants us to live.
- To do what no other would or could do, coming to us, giving His life, to make a way back for all who are lost.
- To rule as the true and just King of all creation, to be our Lord and lead his people into fruitful lives, partnering with Him in establishing His Kingdom (God's way of doing things).
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- Share an experience of God restoring something which was lost in your life, or a story in the Bible you found meaningful.
- Are you feeling disconnected from God, from others and from your purpose? We encourage you to find someone to share with if you aren’t comfortable doing so with the group.
- What are some of the ways you can seek to hear God’s clarity when you need to find a way forward?
- Are there people in your world who are feeling a bit lost in this season? Pray for them and invite them to church/church online.