Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Are You Ready to Entertain This Guest?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever invited yourself to dinner in someone’s home, and then invited yourself to be an overnight guest as well? Suppose you had never met the person before?

Jesus was visiting Jericho where Zacchaeus had been a dishonest tax collector, lining his pockets with what was due the state, imposing heavy charges on the poor citizens. Other politically appointed tax-collectors did the same thing, so much so that people generally hated them.

But Zacchaeus had heard John the Baptist, especially the sermon to tax collectors. Zacchaeus resolved to repent and straighten up. He had already started paying back astonished citizens whom he had defrauded. He was taking a hefty chunk out of his bank account, voluntarily.

A small guy, he climbs a tree hoping to get a glimpse of this Jesus he had heard so much about. Jesus spots him, and then, wonder of wonders, He invites Himself home to Zacchaeus's house for dinner, and to stay there! Seems the opposite of what we read about Jesus elsewhere, that He stands outside our door and knocks, and never enters unless He is invited in! Why this exception?

Well, (1) maybe Jesus was hungry and this seemed His best chance to get a square meal. Not impossible! He did get hungry! And He was dependent on others for food. (2) It is certain that He would be welcome in that home, because this man was demonstrating genuine repentance, restoring what he had taken selfishly. (3) Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was aware that all the wealth he had accumulated was thanks to the blessing of the Lord. Zacchaeus knew he was infinitely in debt to God; the Son of God was not freeloading off of him!

Here's an idea to contemplate: not are you ready to invite Jesus into your home and heart, but does He know and does He have evidence that you would welcome Him--anytime, night or day, as an unexpected Guest? Does He know that you are aware that you are infinitely in debt to Him already? Or do you still have a lingering assumption that what you have you have earned and you deserve? Are you ready to entertain this Guest?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 5, 1998.
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