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The Salvation Lyric

Zacchaeus's story (Luke19:1-10) is a story that most of us have known and grown up with since we were kids. We've read the story, sung the song, and thought that we knew everything that there was to know about the charming story. But have you considered that the story of this "Wee little Man" allows us to tell God's incredible story of salvation?

The little lyric below can help us understand and share the most vital, life-changing message the world needs to hear.
He couldn't see,
So he climbed a tree
To be invited down
So he could bend his knee.
Let me elaborate a little…

1) He couldn't see (vs. 3) -
While Zacchaeus desired to see Jesus, he was physically unable to do so because he was too short. He could not see over the crowd that was lining the streets. Have you ever experienced "feeling short"? Perhaps when you stand next to someone really beautiful and you feel "short"? (I do every time I look at our wedding picture!) Maybe when you align your character and integrity next to another, you feel "short"? Indeed, when comparing ourselves with a Holy God, we fall "short." The Apostle Paul puts it this way, "All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Our sin has "shortened" us, and because of this, we can't see God. The story of salvation starts when we realize that we have fallen short.

2) So he climbed a tree (vs. 4) –
After defining his reality that he couldn't see, he decided to do something about it, and he climbed a tree. We read in Luke 19 that he ran to the tree and, while perched on the branches, was able to be seen by everyone – not only Jesus but those who believed he was a corrupt traitor. It was incredibly undignified for a man to run, and in doing so, he humbled himself. Sitting in the tree was being very vulnerable. If we want to receive God's salvation, we need to humble ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable before him. In a world that values pride and security, it often feels counter-intuitive to "climb a tree," but we must.

3) To be invited down (vs. 5) –
Realizing he couldn't see and by vulnerably climbing the tree, Zacchaeus caught Jesus' eye. Quickly Jesus invited him down, and quickly he came down to receive a loving invitation to dine and fellowship with Jesus. Zacchaeus was filled with great excitement and joy (vs. 6). As his feet touched the ground, he began a new life. Jesus knows from personal experience that it isn't good to hang in/on trees for too long. As he hung on a tree with our sin, shame, and brokenness on him, and then coming down from that tree (and rising from that grave), he won for us a new life. There exists a standing invitation from Jesus that we "come down."

4) So he could bend the knee (vs. 8) –
Jesus and Zacchaeus dine together, and as an act of love and a demonstration of his transformed life, Zacchaeus repays all that he owes and more. He surrenders more than he has to because from now on, he's going to live differently. He moves from Christ being his Savior to Christ, being his Lord. When someone asks you who Jesus is, what do you say? If you acknowledge that he is your Savior, you are acknowledging that Jesus loves you. If you recognize that he is your Lord, you are making a statement that you seek to love him back. As he bent his knee, Jesus affirmed Zacchaeus' transformation by calling him a "true son of Abraham." His conversion was completed as he claimed his God-given identity.
He couldn't see, so he climbed a tree to be invited down to bend his knee.

This is Zacchaeus' story. It's also God's story of salvation. Is it your story? It needs to be…

Please use the comment box below to answer the following questions about your salvation;
1) In what ways do you feel "Spiritually Short"?
2) What are some practical ways that you can express to God your desire to see and know Him?
3) Do you experience Christ primarily as your Savior, Lord, or friend? How does your prior understanding of him affect your relationship with him?
4) Do you know that you know that you know that you are saved? Are you telling the truth?

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