1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. ” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. ” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold. ” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. ”
Zacchaeus was a success by worldy standards. He had position and wealth, but these two things were of little use to him in his desire to see Jesus. They did not prevent him from climbing a tree to see past the crowd. From that position in the tree he could see and Jesus could as well. I imagine that Zacchaeus did not anticipate what then happened.
Jesus looked up and said, "hurry and come down", calling him by name.
Zacchaeus did just that. He came down from that tree a different man.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God is outside the box of human thought and knowledge. Yet we can approach Him if His Spirit dwells in us. Paul reminds us here that the fullness of God is love and we can be filled.
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
The tree of life was hung on the leafless tree of our shame and sin. The fruit from the forbidden tree is replaced by the hand of God with the fruit of His Son, restoring man to the freedom from sin that is in Christ.
The tree of life is Christ. Those in Christ are fed by its roots, the body and bride of the one that has and will come. It is watered by the Spirit.
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. ” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
The Lord made known to the shepherds the birth of Jesus. They went and saw it for themselves. Then they made known what they had seen and heard. God continues to reveal Himself through unlikely people, in unexpected places, and surprising ways; in you and me.
It is up to us to live and make known what we've seen and heard.
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
The Holy Spirit works within us, even when we sleep, for He does not sleep. Like the seed that germinates unseen, the word taken to heart takes root and grows. We do not know how this happens, but begin to see the fruit of it's presence.
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord. ”
Blessed are all those who believe what the Lord has said and is doing. The Holy Spirit has been given. The fruit of His indwelling provides food for the hungery and drink for those who thirst. Our womb is the heart and in it we are reborn.
9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
They beheld the star and came to see what Herod and Jerusalem could not see, though Israel had long awaited the one foretold. The light of the star rose for all men.
They had come in their own way, but upon finding the child they fall to their knees. After worshipping Him, they traded their treasure for His.
18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
There is a difference between being amazed at the hearing of something and taking it to heart. Mary embraced the unfolding events just as she had the Holy One of God. She too had been visited by an angel, but also touched by the Holy Spirit.
Responding with a life changed is the mark of a disciple of Christ. Just hearing and wondering about it does not make one a follower of Jesus.
38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? ” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still! ” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
He was in the boat with them, yet they became afraid. The King of Peace was with them, but they did not know this. They ask a question that we have all thought at one time or another. Where are you Lord in the midst of my troubles? Don't you care?
2 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.
Why choice? Why does God allow us to choose to obey? Why did He put the forbidden tree in the Garden?
It says here it is so He would know our heart and that we would know that He is the author of life.
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.
If we are open we can receive and understand His words, if they don't stop at our ears but seep into the soil of the heart. There the seed of the good news can take root and grow. As the barren ground begins to transform, fruit appears, and God's pleasure prevails.
The words were too hard for some, and they turned away.
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
The seed is planted all around us. The heavens and earth declare the glory of the Lord. Life is a parable from which we can learn spiritual things. We can only think of and relate to God from our perspective. That is why Jesus said that we must be born again to see the kingdom of God.
Without the Spirit, one will read the Bible without understanding. One will live life not seeing God's hand everywhere. The Holy Spirit teaches and confirms the word for those who believe in His name. This happens in the privacy of our hearts and in the body of Christ.
We should always remember that God alone is worthy of worship and that He is Most Holy. We cannot fathom His forgiveness if we do not come to Him with a sense if awe and wonder, without kneeling in ours hearts to His Lordship. It is His grace alone that saves us. Our lives should reflect that grace and thanksgiving.
24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. ”
How we respond to Jesus makes a difference. As carpenters say, "measure twice, cut once".