Jesus Is Coming For Lunch
“Oh by the way, Jesus is coming for lunching today.” Said Zacchaeus to his wife (if he had a wife).
You see, Zacchaeus was a wee little man. A wee little man was he. So he climbed up in a sycamore tree to see Jesus, but what that children’s Bible song does not go on to say is, “and everyone hated Zacchaeus, but Zacchaeus was desperate to get a glimpse of Jesus, and Jesus honored his tree climb of faith with a lunch invitation to Zacchaeus’ own house and everyone was super jealous about it.” And how did Zacchaeus respond to this last minute lunch invitation? Let’s revisit the scene:
“Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. ‘He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,’ they grumbled.” Luke 19:1-7
IF JESUS SAID, I’M COMING OVER TO YOUR HOUSE TODAY! WHAT WOULD YOUR RESPONSE BE?
Mine is a little bit of panic. Jesus is coming to my house today? Like in a hour, today? Get everything out of the fridge! Make all the food! Get all the drinks! Husband–get out the vacuum! Baby–clean up that drool!
I asked my husband this question, and he was like, “sure, sounds good.” So relaxed! Unlike me. That’s why I married him.
I asked this question on Instagram, and @justinwkimmel responded, “Run to the liquor store and pick up a bunch of beer and wine. Go buy out the butcher of steaks and fire up the grill. Tell all the neighbors to come. Party time.” I love this response!
I asked this question to the women in our small group, and they had various responses. Many included a quick clean of the house (stuffing things in closets and running a vacuum). Most of them said it would probably be like hosting small group, because that’s how we should be treating each other anyways, since Jesus lives in us as Christians.
My response reveals that my intentions are to clean up everything for Jesus, to give him the best experience, and to feel most loved, but the thing that might be missing is the preparation of my heart. I totally relate with Martha (Luke 10:40). I can miss the good portion of sitting at Jesus’ feet, remembering my heart is what really needs cleaning. A clean house is temporary, but a heart with Jesus lasts forever. Time spent at Jesus’ feet is more valuable than time spent tidying a house. What I want to ask myself is, am I more focused on preparing my home or preparing my heart?
JESUS EATS LUNCH WITH SINNERS
That’s not how Zacchaeus responded. It says “Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” He took Jesus straight to his house. He didn’t leave Jesus outside for a minute, so he could clean up? No. He was so excited that Jesus chose to be with him, that I’m pretty sure he didn’t give a second thought to what his house looked like. Why would he? Obviously, Jesus was not choosing his lunch companions based on their outward appearance or reputation.
Let’s keep reading:
“Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.'” Luke 19:8-10
This is it right here. This is the gospel! Jesus chose to be with Zacchaeus first, and then Zacchaeus desired to change his life in response. Not the other way around. Zacchaeus didn’t do a bunch of stuff to impress Jesus, so Jesus would choose him. Jesus chose him even though he was a “notorious sinner” and everyone knew it.
While the Pharisees were boasting about how their great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather was Abraham, Zacchaeus surrendered his life to the Lord, proving his faith by surrendering his sins and worldly riches to Jesus. And Jesus calls Zacchaeus, the notorious sinner, a true son of Abraham. I bet the Pharisees were a little shocked.
The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. The Son of man sought Zacchaeus, the Son of Man saved Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, this known thief, became a known giver by giving back 4x what he owed to people. Just imagine their faces! It’s like every institution or person who’s taken advantage of you sending a person to your house with a personal apology and a huge check. I’m sure Zacchaeus got to share his testimony with every single one of those people.
The Son of Man came to seek and save not only Zacchaeus, but he came to seek and save you, too. Whether you have a stellar reputation, like the Pharisees, or not so great a reputation, like Zacchaeus, Jesus wants to come and have lunch with you. He wants to be in your life. What is your reaction to this? Are you like me, worried about preparing your heart and home? Or do you have a reaction like Zacchaeus, who pledges to live a generous life in joyous response to Jesus’s invitation?
My question to you is, why did you click on this post? Do you, like Zacchaeus, want to see more of Jesus?
What is your response to Jesus when he asks to come to your house, to be in your life?