1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to 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 received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
I know when I think about intimacy with Christ, I don’t necessarily think about Zacchaeus, but I was in prayer I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. So I read the story again. Zacchaeus started out curious so he climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus. Based on his job, he wasn’t the most popular person in Jericho, and scripture says he was small in stature. Immediately he had 2 obstacles. The crowd, and his physical stature. That didn’t stop him from seeing Jesus.
As Jesus came into Jericho, He looked up and said to Zacchaeus, “I’m coming to your house.”
This is where I think Zacchaeus and I are most different. It says “He received him joyfully”. I think if that was me, I would be freaking out a bit. Is my house clean enough? Do I have enough food? I’d get a little nervous. Instead the Bible says that Zacchaeus joyfully took him to his home. (Which caused the rest of the town to get a little bitter.)
When Jesus entered his house, I think this is where the intimacy was fully realized. With this encounter, Zacchaeus gave half of what he had to the poor (generosity), and paid back everyone he had defrauded, times four (Repentance)!!
Why? Why would Zacchaeus do that? Jesus had a meal with Zacchaeus. I don’t know what was said, and I don’t know exactly how the meal went, but I know the character of Christ so I can say that I know that truth was spoken. I know that it was intimate. I know that it was life altering for him.
Zacchaeus had it right. After experiencing intimacy with Christ he couldn’t help but to move! Intimacy with God isn’t just for me. Yes. That’s one very awesome reason, and there are seasons where I bask in that. Where my intimacy with God is mine, and I need it for so many things. But, much like Zacchaeus experienced, when love strikes me so profoundly that I want to shout it from the rooftops; when I have a very real encounter with Christ, I am compelled to tell everyone about it. When I get a revelation of true intimacy with Christ, I want to spread that intimacy… It’s time to go. It’s time to move. It’s time to repent, it’s time to get generous! It’s time to take the perfect love that lives within us, and use our intimacy with God to share intimacy with God with the people in our workplace, the people in traffic, the people in the grocery store. God wants them to know the riches and glory of Christ. So that Christ can truly say,
“…Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.“