(Luke 19:5-7) And when Jesus reached the place, He looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today. (6) So he hurried and came down, and he received and welcomed Him joyfully. (7) And when the people saw it, they all [a] muttered among themselves and indignantly complained, He has gone in to be the guest of and lodge with a man who is devoted to sin and preeminently a sinner.
While on earth, Jesus provoked the religious leaders and many die-hard loyal fanatics. His ideology caused then and still causing today chaos because many preferred a tailor-suit religion, which is good enough for them. Nonetheless, Jesus did not permit them to deter Him from his purpose. He continued to remain faithful to His calling and this He accomplished in the end. The day he reached out Zacchaeus, he created anew a stir.
Let us create a succinct scenario —
1st Person: This so-called Jesus is shameless
2nd Person: More than. I thought I was the only one thinking about that. How could he?
3rd Person: Are you both surprised? He’s been doing this for long. You see, yesterday, he was found discussing with a Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7- 42). Today is Zacchaeus. Tomorrow might be to violate the Sabbath by healing a crippled woman (Luke 13:10-17).
1st Person: this is why we must get rid of him before he infects us all
3rd person: Absolutely! I agree.
Well…the good news is that Jesus is not ashamed of being identified with the poor, healing the sick, raising the dead, or eating and staying in the house of sinners. He is love and He shared His love with those people because He knew that it is by loving others sincerely that we can change them.
Today we regard the homosexuals with disdain. If need be and occasion permits, we are prepared to quote the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation to these people just to show them that God hates them because they are not heterosexual.
Who are we to adjudicate them? Who are we to run away from them? If Jesus had refused to come to save us, where would we have gotten the privilege to be born-again Christians? Until we put on the emblem of love and accept people the way they are, we are not going to preach the gospel of love. We must take into consideration the fact that grace of God is over our lives. He installs us here to be amazing blessings to other people, to love them as they are, and never to impose our religion on them.
Wait…did Jesus forced his way through? Did he recruit his disciples by force? Did he use all the miracles to manipulate people to follow Him?
The verse, “Be not equally yoke with unbelievers,” clearly implies that you do not have to join them in doing what they are doing and NOT avoiding them as if they are lepers. Yes, you can be their best friends, parents, colleagues, et cetera.
How would you feel if someone rejects you?
You do not have to tell someone that you are a Christian before him or her know that indeed you are. There is something absolutely wrong if people struggle in distinguishing between you and a genuine Christian. You will fully recognise them by their fruit indicates the exhibition of your character as a child of God (Matthew 7:16a).
We need to give kudos to Paul for openly rebuking Peter when the latter turned down dining with the Gentiles in front of the traveling Jews; “For up to the time that certain persons came from James, he ate his meals with the Gentile [converts]; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he withdrew and held himself aloof from the Gentiles and [ate] separately for fear of those of the circumcision [party] (Galatians 2:12).
What many of us knew Peter for is his talkative attributes, but there is more to him. Here we are shown Peter, the proud; Peter, the do-not-touch-my-immaculate-garment; Peter, the I-don’t-eat-with-sinners.
How many of us are like Peter? We are confident that we are perfect. We consider the best of us all the time while we prefer to think the worst of others. Probably, we are like this because we tend to be suffering from a misplaced priority. How could we have easily forgotten the Mark 12:31?
May God gives us the hearts to genuinely love like Him
In Jesus name, AMEN