Teaching from Pastor Mrs Uma Ukpai
I have always wondered if I would have received a man like Zacchaeus in my office, not to talk of inviting him over for dinner. I dare to say that so many of us who are Holy Ghost filled and tongue speaking, would have asked our security staff to shoo him off, ‘the crook and cheat’! What is he looking for among Christians, the righteous? We don’t need the crooked-minded, or those who dupe their very tribesmen!’ But Jesus had a different idea. Jesus took note of this tax-collector who was despised because he was a deceitful man, cheating people of their hard earned money and resorting to false accusations to get what he wanted.
Our Master, the Righteous one, opted to visit Zacchaeus and dine with him. Notice we are not told that Jesus rebuked him for his evil ways or dishonest lifestyle throughout their encounter. Rather while those around grumbled that Jesus was associating with a sinner, Jesus showed Zacchaeus grace and honor by coming down to his level, to accept his person. What was the outcome of this love? Overwhelmed, Zacchaeus repented.
He stood up before Jesus and declared that he would restore fourfold to those he had taken from illegally and give half of his goods to the poor. Grace achieved within a moment, what accusation, condemnation, judgment and tongue-lashing couldn’t have. Left to me, I would have given Zacchaeus some days of fasting and prayers before accepting his confession. It is the presence of God, His Spirit that changes any man. We have to bemore like Christ to give those who are struggling with sin, the chance to know the grace of God and be inwardly transformed. We are saved by grace, not by our strength or works. Give your Zacchaeus a chance!
Pastor Mrs Uma Ukpai
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