How Does Encountering Jesus Change How We Live?

Repentance resulted in Zacchaeus becoming the best at what he was once the worst at.
— Pastor Rodney

Growing up in church, I’ve heard this story at least one hundred times, and now my kids know the song about the wee little man who climbed the tree to see Jesus. It’s a token tale we all tell, so I wonder if sometimes we overlook the amazing aspects, if they’ve lost their punch.

There’s the little but grown man (with a job and a life) who climbs a tree to see Jesus walk by, and then there’s Jesus seeing and seeking Zacchaeus out, knowing all about his lifestyle and his reputation, inviting Himself over — the Holy meeting the sinner, the Savior coming near the self-centered. It’s not what we expect, but that’s what Jesus does time and again.

So Zacchaeus climbed up, Jesus came over, and then it’s Zacchaeus’ move again. He has to decide — will this change anything for him? Encountering Jesus should leave us different than before, but we have to choose to change directions, seeking His way above our own. And that’s exactly what Zacchaeus did. He repented, and then he let it change him. His priorities changed. His actions changed. He went back and humbly attempted to fix what he knew he had done wrong. He chose generosity over greed.

This is the miracle of Zacchaeus meeting Jesus — he walks away and his life looks different.

It should beg the question of those of us who know Him: How does encountering Jesus change how we live?

Zacchaeus recognized that compared to Jesus, what he had was worthless. The way he lived wasn’t worth the Kingdom. And so he was changed, chose to change, allowed Jesus to change him. And that, my friends, is miraculous.

Think it over:

Does your life continue to look different as you spend time with Jesus, as you see your sin and encounter His grace and spend time in His presence?

Read for next week:

Luke 19:28-48