Sunday, February 19, 2017

Analyzing Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in Israel and became rich by swindling people out of their money. He was Ebenezer Scrooge and Bernie Madoff wrapped up into one person. One day he heard Jesus was coming to Jericho, so he climbed a tree to see over the crowd. Jesus looked up, called him by name and said He wanted to stay at his house.
     Zacchaeus replied, “Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much" (Luke 19:8). Let’s play the role of a psychiatrist and analyze what changed him:

1. Change begins when the heart changes. A person’s heart must change before behavior will change. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and our need to change. The rebellious prodigal son’s heart was changed when he “came to his senses” (Luke 15:17). He decided to leave his partying life and returned home to serve his father. When your heart changes, you’ll have the desire to live differently.

2. Change happens in a point in time. After Zacchaeus said he would repay those he had cheated, Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house” (19:9). The day before Zacchaeus met Jesus, he was an evil crooked man. But when he realized Jesus was the Son of God, he decided to walk in a new direction. He came down from the tree and declared out loud what he would do differently, “I will give…I will pay back.”

3. Change results in different behavior. If a person claims to know Jesus but there isn’t a change in behavior, then you must question whether it’s a genuine conversion. Zaccheus went with his money bag to those he had cheated and repaid them four times as much. Jesus didn’t tell him to do that. Zaccheus knew in his heart that’s what he needed to do.

Has your heart changed? What are you doing differently since you met Jesus? Let Zacchaeus be your role model.
BIBLE STUDY: What does it mean to repent?

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Making Life Count Ministries
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