You never walk alone
This Sunday, we were blessed to have a guest speaker from Surabaya, Indonesia; pastor Elijah Soetopo from Alpha and Omega Church. Speaking from Luke 19:1-10, pastor Elijah shared a wonderful truth about love and acceptance from the story of a short tax-collector and Jesus.
THE HIDDEN DARK SIDE
From verse 1, we know that Zacchaeus was a tax collector for the Roman empire; and not just any tax collector but the chief. Sin can cause us to feel guilty, like we have something to hide. Everyone has this hidden dark side, as pastor Elijah says. We hide because don’t want people to see the depths of our sin, but one person can see this dark side we try so hard to conceal; that is Jesus. And yet, Jesus doesn’t call us out or define us by our dark side; as He did for Zaccheus, Jesus calls us by our name (v5-6).
There is a unique moment in this passage where Jesus says to Zacchaeus, “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Jesus did not give Zacchaeus an option, but a command. And Jesus gave this command for all the crowd to hear. While Jesus had many choices to invite himself to Zacchaeus’ house, Jesus chose to publicly declare an association with Jesus. He was trying to send a message of love and acceptance.
LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE
What we see as a result of Jesus’ love and acceptance is a total life change for Zacchaeus. In verse 8, Zacchaeus commits to giving half of his possessions to the poor and more! Love and acceptance are powerful tools. If we can be like Jesus, loving and accepting all people, it doesn’t mean we agree with/involve ourselves in their sin. We love and accept them as Jesus did. From here, life change is guaranteed to happen, but not the other way around.
So, how do we put this into practice? Pastor Elijah suggests two ways:
We must have clear principles in our lives. Don’t be easily influenced by sin, but positively influence those struggling with sin.
Despite discomfort, try to build relationships with all people. Show them love and acceptance like Jesus showed to Zacchaeus.
Thank You that we would never walk alone. Thank You that Jesus showed us that love and acceptance is the way to life change. I pray that I would practice love and acceptance to others, no matter who they are.
In Jesus’ loving name,