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Friday, March 30, 2018

God Knows Me and Calls Me Personally by Name

In review of Luke 19:5 it says, “When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said” (TLB).

Today's passage comes from the first part of Luke 19 where Jesus and Zacchaeus meet. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in the region and despised by many for his corrupt actions. He had to climb a tree in order to see above the crowds to get a look at Jesus. However, Jesus noticed him out of the crowd and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" He said, "Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today."

In response Zacchaeus took Jesus to his house with great excitement and joy. But in seeing this the people were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner.," they grumbled. Zacchaeus told Jesus that he would "give half of his wealth to the poor, and replay those he cheated back 4 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."

Despite the fact that Zacchaeus was both a cheater and a traitor, Jesus still loved him; and in response to his encounter, this tax collector was converted. There are those around me who I generalize as being "untouchable" because of their lifestyles or beliefs. I should not give myself into any social pressure or prejudice to avoid them. Jesus loved them, and they may need to hear his Good News.

After Zacchaeus encounter with Jesus, he must have realized his life needed straightening out. Zacchaeus statement to Jesus demonstrated his inner change by his outward actions. Following Jesus in my head and heart alone is not enough. I must show my faith by changed behavior. I need to consider if my faith has resulted in a changed behavior. Is my faith being show in my actions?

All of Zacchaeus’ life, likely had been ridiculed and rejected, first for his appearance (being short) and then for his sinful life. But Jesus did more than just look at him. By calling Zacchaeus by name, Jesus showed that he knew him. Imagine the shock Zacchaeus must have felt! How did Jesus know his name?

God not only knows where I am, he also knows who I am. He knows what I’m going through, why I’m going through it, and how I feel about it. He knows me better than I know myself. He cares about me personally.

The name Zacchaeus means “pure one.” That’s the last thing that comes to mind when you think of a corrupt government official. He was anything but pure. And yet Jesus, calling Zacchaeus by name, was saying, “Hey, pure one, I’m coming to your house today.” Jesus was affirming what he saw in Zacchaeus, not what Zacchaeus was. Jesus wants to affirm ymeou. He wants to let me know how much he loves me.

When Jesus died on the cross and stretched out his arms and the soldiers put nails through his hands, my name was engraved there. When I get to Heaven, there will be no scars on anyone except Jesus. He’s going to have those scars for eternity to remind me how much he loves me, a way to say, “Do you think I could forget you? Not a chance! This is how much you matter to me.”

In my own life, I need to affirm those around me. It may mean a big difference for them and what their life. It may also open up the door for them to see Jesus in me. It's also a great reminder that God knows me personally and cares for me. God sees me for who I am, not necessarily what I had done.

Bottom Line:
God knows and calls us by our names.

What this means to me:
God knows me. I’m not just a small fish in a big lake. He wants a relationship with me and wants to build my character to be like Jesus.

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