Roadside Repentance

Roadside Repentance

sycamore tree photo
Photo by Carsten aus Bonn

It’s interesting to me that people in the Bible are often surprised by who Jesus chooses to associate with. It’s usually the self-righteous, the ones who would be considered “good” or “holy” by the standards they themselves have created. They see Jesus choose “sinners” over them and immediately criticize Him for it.

One such instance comes from our Gospel reading this week. Jesus is passing through town when a known sinner becomes His focus. Zacchaeus was an awful man—everyone in town knew this—yet Jesus chose to dine with him. As the people grumbled about this, Jesus reminded them about His purpose:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10

I wonder if we aren’t like that crowd of people still today. Many of us would consider ourselves “good” or “holy”, certainly compared to the rest of our society. We diligently try to keep God’s Word and are quick to denounce those who don’t. We look down on those who want to move farther and farther from God, lamenting how they are ruining our country.

But those people are the very ones Jesus came to seek and to save. Moreover, we are those people. It’s easy to compare ourselves to those people and declare that we are better than them, closer to God. If we use our own worldly standard for holiness, that probably even makes sense.

But when we compare ourselves to “those people” using God’s standard, we quickly realize we are just like them: lost. But that’s OK. As we realize that we don’t meet His standards, we stand with Zacchaeus and many others in the Scriptures: Those who the Son of Man came to seek and to save.

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