What would it look like for you to "experience Jesus" as you begin a new year, a new decade? At Watermark, we are spending the first eight weeks of the new year delving into some amazing, first-hand experiences captured in the Bible that people had with Jesus. We launched the series with the encounter Zacchaeus had with Jesus (Read Luke 19:1-10).
Like me, you may have read this story many times, dating back to your childhood. It is a popular story about a man seeking Jesus. He wanted desperately to see Jesus and was willing to do whatever it took to do it. But what is even more amazing is that while Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus, Jesus was actually seeking him! And the great news for you and me is that Jesus is seeking us too! He wants a relationship with us. He wants to visit our homes, to be an integral part of our lives, to spend time with us!
There are several salient truths we could pull from this narrative, but I'm gonna give you a few that stand out to me immediately. If you get a chance, I would encourage you to listen to the message in it's entirety on video.
The story opens with Jesus simply "passing through" Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. Jesus was on His way to the annual Passover celebration and, oh by the way, to save the world! While Jesus is in Jerusalem, He will give His life on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world, including yours, mine and the notorious sinner He is about to meet, Zacchaeus. And even though Jesus was on a mission to save the world, He found time to change a life.
I want you to know that Jesus always has time for you! He wants to change your life! He wants to spend time with you - to offer you wisdom, leadership, encouragement and love. You may think He is too busy for you, but just like Zacchaeus, He wants to get to know you, to be with you!
Do you know what Zacchaeus' name means? I'm told it means "pure or innocent." But Zacchaeus was anything but pure and innocent; he was actually greedy and selfish, empowered by his position as a chief tax collector. He had taken advantage of a lot of people over the years. If we are brutally honest, you and I are far from pure and innocent too, held hostage by our failures and sin.
So what did Zacchaeus do when he heard Jesus was coming to town? He ran to see Him! But because he was "vertically challenged", he had to get creative and climb a tree just to see Jesus. Think about that for a minute... what did it take for a man like Zacchaeus to "climb a tree?" A man with his power, prestige and position wouldn't clamor to climb a tree for anyone; but for Jesus, Zacchaeus didn't hesitate. There is a truth here for us... Getting into position to really see Jesus has nothing to do with elevating yourself, but rather humbling yourself. Zacchaeus was willing to humble himself, push his pride aside, to see and experience Jesus. Will you? (Matthew 23:12).
Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus, but the truth is, Jesus was seeking him! As soon as Jesus saw him, He told him He was coming to his house. When Jesus told Zach He was coming to his house, Zacchaeus didn't hesitate either; he gladly welcomed Jesus! The truth is Jesus wants to come to your house; He wants to be with you, spend time with you! Will you gladly welcome Him into every part of your life in 2020?
When Zach experienced Jesus, his life was clearly changed! He offered to pay back far more than was expected for money he had fraudulently acquired and even promised to give half his wealth away! That response wasn't a condition for his salvation; it was the fruit of his salvation. When you experience Jesus, and are changed by Him, you will produce fruit! (John 15:5, Galatians 5:22). Are you letting Jesus produce fruit in you?
Amazingly, after Zach experienced Jesus, he began to live up to his name. Jesus would make him pure and innocent! 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10.
How can you and I experience Jesus in 2020?
Earnestly seek Jesus daily - Jesus is already seeking you! Will you seek Him daily?(Matthew 7:7-8)
Humble yourself to get in position to see Jesus - Don't elevate yourself or depend on your prestige, power or position, but instead humble yourself to get in position to see Jesus! Look to Him for leadership, wisdom and direction in all areas of life in 2020.
Love Jesus with complete abandon - Commit to love Him with all your heart, soul and mind... don't put Him on a shelf. Keep Him near you. Welcome Him into your home and your life. (Matthew 22:37).
Let Jesus produce fruit in you! Be fruitful for Christ's sake. Let the evidence of your salvation be apparent to people around you. Make an impression and leave a mark for Jesus Christ in 2020! Help Him seek and save the lost! Take the time to get personal with someone who may not yet believe.
For much more, click here listen to The Jesus Experience - Part 1 - The Seeker .