For the past 45 years, I’ve read the story of Zaccheus without much more thought than that he climbed the tree to get a better look at Jesus. But when I read it this time, I discovered more to that story than had met my eye. (How can it be that I can read something in Scripture a hundred times and then see something new on the 101st?).
Anyway, here’s what happened in Luke 19:
"[Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way."
"When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.”
If you remember the story, a few verses later, Zaccheus experiences a bona-fide conversion. But his conversion is not what I saw this time around. What caught my attention is that the Lord invited Himself to the man’s house. And He wanted to go home with him now.
I put the Bible down for a few moments and thought about that scenario – and how I might have felt. I mean, the guy didn’t even have a chance to first run home and straighten things up. Maybe he had dirty underwear lying on the floor by his bed. Or dishes in the sink from last week. Or dust-bunnies hanging out in the corners of the living room.
And now Jesus summarily invites Himself home with him. Right now. No time to clean the house.
As I pondered the scene, Revelation 3:20 came to mind. “Behold,” Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
And the Holy Spirit made the application for me.
When Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus’ house, the man scampered down the tree and, we are told, “gladly received Him” – even if his house was not ready to receive such an important Guest.
As Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus’ place, He is right now knocking on the door of your conscience, inviting Himself into your ‘house.’
You may think your house is not ready for such an important Guest. That’s okay. He doesn’t care about the dirty clothes or the dirty dishes or the dirty corners of our lives. He’ll take care of those things when we let Him in.
All He asks of us, is that we receive Him gladly.