Devotional thoughts on Luke 19:1-10
By Jen Dunning
Have you ever been surprised by something that turned out to be a great gift? I asked some friends to share how God had provided unexpected joy. Their responses were humbling. Stories abounded:
• Infertility led to the adoption of a child, which provided more joy than ever thought possible.
• A relationship was terminated over an unplanned pregnancy that God has redeemed for unimaginable blessings.
• After 24 years of searching to fill a void left by an earthly father, there was a joyful reunion with him.
• Being left at the altar only to later find a spouse who was more than worth the wait.
Out on a Limb
Undoubtedly, you have your own story of God showing up when you were vulnerable and felt out on a limb. This is where Jesus found Zacchaeus, a wee little man who was literally out on a limb, desperate to score a celebrity sighting. Jesus found Zacchaeus where he was: lost, hurting, and looking to fill the void.
Tax collecting had been lucrative, and although Zacchaeus was wealthy, collecting taxes from fellow Jews to give to Rome had made him unpopular in Jericho. Many took advantage of their positions to charge extra to line their own pockets. His wealth could not buy the answers or anything to fill the hole in his heart. Whatever the source of his heartache, something drew Zacchaeus to Jesus, and he set dignity aside and climbed a tree.
Small Man—Big Deal
This small man was a big deal to Jesus, who called him by name and said, “I must stay at your house today.” What a surprise! Jesus knew him and valued him. Scraping an elbow or two, Zacchaeus scurried down the tree as fast as he could to welcome the Lord. Those who muttered about him being a sinner did not deter him. In fact, it seemed to spur him toward repentance. His fresh salvation stirred such joy in his heart it began to overflow, and Zacchaeus vowed that he would make it right.
Maybe you’ve been rescued from a place out on a limb, or maybe you’re dangling there today. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. When he does, the joy that explodes within will surprise you.
Jen Dunning and her husband, Anthony, and their two daughters, Natalie and Brynn, live in Katy, Texas, where she is the director of Pre-Teen Ministry at Current—a Christian Church.