One final word stands out about the story of Zacchaeus. A word from the story that I’d never paid much attention to before. After all, the song ends on the statement “for I’m going to your house today”, and that’s all we get. The emphasis, when we usually hear it told, is on the fact that Jesus would even desire to go into such a mans house.
It hits harder when we read the literal translation from the Greek of verse 5, “..come down, for today in the house of you it is necessary for me to remain.” In verse 9, Jesus doesn’t simply announce that Zacchaeus has experienced salvation. He announces that “salvation has come to this house”. This entire story offers a vital reminder and encouragement for our homes and families.
We hear that Zacchaeus was “happy to welcome him”. Next, we hear that “all who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” From there, it jumps right into Zacchaeus living as a transformed (made new) creation. Giving half of his possessions to the poor, and paying back what was stolen 4-fold. But that leaves us with a very important unknown:
What happened in the home? What did Jesus say/do that led to such a change?
Pastor Gerry pointed out, not having this in the story could be the work of God’s Spirit. After all, if we knew what Jesus said, it would lead to: 1. us making an equation/method out of it. Basically we could say _____ brings about salvation. 2. Us being able to say, “well, those words were meant for Zacchaeus specifically…not for me and my life.”
Instead, we are left with this: God desires what happens in our homes to be about Jesus bringing transformation and announcing our identity as His children. The words of Jesus come to us just as clearly as to Zacchaeus, “in the house of you it is necessary for me to remain.” Our homes need to be places where our children receive their identity as God has given. Where they experience the presence of Jesus, and are changed in a way that brings a genuine difference in how they relate to others and to the poor. Extend that out, knowing that homes in those days often held multiple generations under one roof. God desires an experience where Grandpas and Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and Siblings, all become part of receiving God’s identity/calling as a family that is “made new”. In a way that says “God wants what has happened here, to continue happening in places where He is unknown”.
How is that happening in our homes this week???