What Happens When You Invite Jesus into Your Home

Today I have a new book out called Walking with Christ: 30 Days with Jesus on the Road to Jerusalem. Exciting, right?

Click here to see the book on Amazon:

Walking with Christ: 30 Days with Jesus on the Road to Jerusalem

The book is a month-long devotional covering Luke 17-19 with scripture reading, commentary, and guided prayer for each day. These chapters in Luke span Jesus's last trip to Jerusalem, encompassing his final days before Passion Week began.

Throughout these days Jesus wasted no time fretting about the cross, but instead dispensed crucial lessons about the kingdom of God to his disciples. In a matter of days it would be their turn to pick up the mantle and carry out Christ's mission.

So what did Jesus teach them? To state it succinctly: God's kingdom is nothing at all like earthly kingdoms. Where kingdoms on earth value strength, money and power, God's kingdom celebrates children, widows and beggars.

But rather than simply tell you about the book, I thought I'd share some of it with you. What follows is an excerpt from Walking with Christ, day twenty-three.

What Happens When You Invite Jesus into Your Home

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 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.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 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.”
Luke 19:1-8

Encountering the holiness of God makes us acutely aware of our lack of holiness. We are so far removed from his perfection and glory that even a glimpse of the Almighty would spell certain death. Therefore, our encounters with God are limited to tabernacles, temples, clefts in rocks, and visions. And even these filtered experiences have an extreme effect on humanity. Moses, when he met with God at Sinai, came down from the mountain, face aglow like a radioactive space alien. Saul of Tarsus experienced the resurrected Christ as a bright light and became blind for a few days.

Physiology aside, meeting with God always serves to highlight our sin, because it stands in high contrast to him who is the antithesis of sin. The prophet Isaiah had an encounter with God through a vision and what was his response? “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).

Jesus Christ was another filter of God’s holiness. Jesus was fully divine, yet wrapped up in flesh and blood in part so that his presence would be palatable for other human beings. One look at God means death. But one could gaze upon Jesus and survive because of Christ’s human status. Even so, one could not spend too much time with the Nazarene without becoming acutely aware of his or her sin, inadequacy, and unrighteousness. When Jesus called Peter, what did Peter say? “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). Zacchaeus, too, when inviting Jesus into his home, couldn’t help but recognize the wretchedness of his existence. In response, he repented the best way he knew how. Standing up in front of the gathering at his home, he pledged half of his wealth to the poor, and he pledged to restore what he had cheated times four.

Photo by Thanos Pal

Notice the overtones of previous lessons in Zacchaeus’s story. It’s almost as if Jesus were preparing the disciples for this very moment. First, Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully, just like a child. Those who witnessed Jesus at the tax collector’s house grumbled, themselves puffed up with pride at the sight of this sinner. Jesus previously had told a parable about a self-righteous Pharisee and a humble, yet contrite tax collector. Sound familiar? Second, contrast Zacchaeus’s encounter with that of the rich ruler. Without prompting, Zacchaeus pledged to give away a sizeable portion of his wealth because he realized it was a barrier to his relationship with God. The rich ruler went away sad because he loved his wealth.

When I encounter Jesus, whether through prayer, worship, service, or reading the scriptures, I cannot help but beg for forgiveness for all my selfishness. His mere presence causes me to realize how unworthy and unholy I really am. The world sometimes tricks us into thinking we are good on our own. Our pride tells us we’re doing all right, especially compared to the next person. But no one is righteous except through Christ. When we recognize that truth, we can receive the salvation Jesus grants us through faith in him.

If you’re steeped in sin or uncomfortable with the idea of encountering Jesus, join the club. Yet our savior is like the father in the tale of the prodigal son, anxiously waiting for us to return home and with outstretched arms ready to embrace you. His love for you is so immense, he endured agony on the cross that we may achieve reconciliation through repentance. Few people were as messed up as Zacchaeus, and, as we’ll see tomorrow, Jesus said salvation came to him that very day. Whatever you’re dealing with, take it to Jesus.

Ask the Lord to meet you where you are today. Give your burdens to him, and confess your sins. Thank the Lord for his death on the cross.

Click here to buy Walking with Christ on Amazon.

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