“The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Zacchaeus was not a nice person by any stretch of the imagination. He made his fortune by taxing his own people more than the Romans had asked him to, and simply lining his pockets with the difference. So naturally people were upset that of all the people in the community, Jesus would choose Zacchaeus to dine with.
But Jesus’ choice to associate with sinners like Zacchaeus is actually to the benefit of all of us. Because in the eyes of God, we’re all just as bad as Zacchaeus was. We all cheat, and lie, and are completely underserving of an invitation to commune with the Lord. And yet everyday Christ chooses us!
Despite his issues however, Zacchaeus recognized that the opportunity to commune with Christ was a gift of grace. And he acknowledged that gift by giving away what he had gotten illegally.
What about us? Are we willing to apologize for what we may have said that was wrong? Or return what was not ours to take? Are we willing to accept that we are sinners, and take steps to show remorse for our sins by undoing what we can undo?
Dear God, thank You for associating with sinners like me, and for inviting me into Your house. Help me like Zacchaeus to not take for granted Your gracious invitation, but to show appreciation by actively changing my own life. Amen.