How to Experience Transformation
By Greg Sanders
Zacchaeus is one of the more famous characters in the Bible. He is so popular that he even has his own song written about him. You may now have the song stuck in your head and will be singing it the rest of the day. You are welcome. Zacchaeus experienced total life change in one day with one encounter with Jesus. His story reminds us of how Jesus can change our story today.
Luke 19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. 5 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.” 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 8 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!”9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Zacchaeus not only experienced life change, his change was so dramatic that it affected those around Him. Those he once cheated were now repaid. Those who once feared his collecting tactics were now reprieved. Seemingly, the whole city knew something was different with Zacchaeus. How can we experience the same transformation Zacchaeus experienced? His story gives us examples of things He did right.
- Seek Jesus. Not only did he seek Jesus, his seeking was met with some roadblocks. The crowd got in his way. His physical stature limited his ability to seek Jesus easily. Think about it, the two things that hindered Zacchaeus from seeking Jesus were people and his own physical limitations. I talk to people all the time who blame people for the reason they are not seeking Jesus today. I talk to others who say their lives are too busy and their mind just seems to wander when they try to pray. Rather than making excuses, Zacchaeus continued in his pursuit of seeking Jesus. To experience transformation, commit yourself to seeking Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)
- Welcome Jesus into your life. When Zacchaeus saw Jesus he discovered that Jesus did not just want to have a conversation; He wanted to come into his home. Zacchaeus welcomed Him joyfully. To experience transformation, we must consistently welcome Jesus into our situation. Zacchaeus discovered more then he imagined. He discovered Jesus desired a relationship with Him. You must daily recognize and welcome the presence of Jesus into your life.
- Respond to the presence of Jesus. When Jesus entered Zacchaeus’ house, we are not told that Jesus preached, confronted, or mentioned anything about the lifestyle of Zacchaeus. The presence of Jesus has a way of revealing all of that at once. In His presence, our sin is exposed and our lives become transparent. The other side of that reality is that in His presence our sin can be forgiven, our hearts healed, and our lives transformed.
Today’s Challenge: Seek, welcome, and respond to the presence of Jesus. Transformation does not occur just by trying harder. Transformation comes as we decide to seek, welcome, and respond to Him.