20th April 2018

“If…” 

“Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’
Luke 19:8 (NKJV)

Did you notice that Zacchaeus uses an “if” clause above?

Sometimes, when we say, “if I have done” something, “then I’m sorry”, it means that we don’t think we’re guilty of whatever the action was, and that we’re not actually sorry. It’s a way of saying of course I could have done it, but really I didn’t. A way of admitting a possibility but not confessing responsibility. Perhaps an exercise in avoidance.

The story of Zacchaeus is found only in Luke, and it’s about a little man whose encounter with Jesus brings forth a big heart. One lesson is to let Jesus change our behaviour. Christianity is not just head agreement with what Christ says but it’s reflected in our heart, leading to changes within us. Jesus’ conversation with him led to the start of Zacchaeus’s conversion, which was demonstrated immediately in action. When Zacchaeus said “if”, it was not a way of excusing himself, but a statement of meaningful self-examination that involved acts of restitution. So amazing was this turnaround that salvation came to his house (verse 9), implying that his family and servants were affected spiritually by Christ’s words and by what Zacchaeus intended to do in response.

When the Holy Spirit convicts us through the words of Christ or through the words of others, let’s not avoid admitting our mistakes by playing with language. Rather, let’s confess our sins, and change how we behave.

Prayer
Father, thank you that the Holy Spirit works within me and leads me to see where I’ve sinned against Jesus. Help me, please, not to avoid admitting my sins, but to confess them and to change how I behave accordingly. In Jesus
’ name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
james.henderson@gracecom.church
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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