“Now as He [Jesus] drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
– Luke 19:41-42
Missed opportunities! How many can you recall? I’ve had my fair share and I can tell you that once I realized the importance and significance of those opportunities, I felt bad. Those opportunities could have been life changing moments, not just for me but for my son and those who are connected to me. Missed opportunities will have you questioning yourself and pondering on the shoulda, coulda, wouldas! That’s why we have to make sure we have discernment in whatever season we are in so that we don’t miss God and the opportunities He presents to us.
One opportunity you don’t want to miss is the one to receive salvation. Even today, God is being so patient with those who haven’t accepted His invitation to eternal life.
Isn’t it funny how JESUS, the Messiah, the Savior that everyone was waiting for, came and appeared right before them, and still some refused to believe that He was the One sent by God to save His people? Jesus had just made His humble, but grand entrance into Jerusalem and many were shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” These people knew Who was before them. They praised Jesus and said “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” (Luke 19:38) When the Pharisees heard this, they wanted Jesus to quiet the crowd. 😒
They were standing before God Himself, yet they rejected the very One they’d been waiting on. He didn’t appear to be whom they’d imagined. Isn’t that how it is? We preconceive something (or someone) to be a certain way and when it’s before us and not how we perceived it to be, we reject it! We pass it off not realizing the significance of it!
Before Jesus made His entrance into Jerusalem, He caught the attention of a certain tax collector. Let’s see how this tax collector responded to the King of Kings.
Luke 19 starts off with the story about Zacchaeus. You know, the man who was short in stature that Jesus called from the sycamore tree. (That’s how I remember him.) Here’s how the story goes:
“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”” (Luke 19:1-7 NKJV)
Three things to point out here:
1. Zacchaeus sought to see who Jesus was!
2. Jesus saw him!
3. Zacchaeus received Him joyfully!
Are you truly seeking to know Jesus, or are you comfortable living life as is? Are you aware of your current state and want to change? Jesus sees all and He knows all? Are you ready to experience life in the presence of the King?
You know, tax collectors had a bad rep during those times so when people saw that Jesus would be a guest at Zacchaeus’ home, the people started complaining! It sounds like they were pondering “If He is who He says He is, why is He hanging with sinners?” My question is, did they not know what was available to them and what Jesus had to offer? Did they not know they were standing before the Savior of the world and that He’d come to pardon their sins? Blinded! Hard-heartened! Zacchaeus accepted Him while they rejected Him.
Upon Zacchaeus meeting Jesus, he was ready to give up half of his wealth to the poor. And not only that, he wanted to repay those whom he had cheated on their taxes! “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
Zacchaeus took advantage of the opportunity that was before him. A change had taken place in his heart. We can see it clearly in that Zacchaeus offered to give up half of his wealth. And that’s when Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:9-10)
Jesus is aware of your greatest need and He has an invitation with your name on it! Just as Jesus told Zacchaeus that He wanted to be a guest in his home, He wants to come in and sup with you too! He wants you to get to know Him. He’s the One who can change your life and make you anew. That’s what happened when Zacchaeus opened his home to Jesus.
Second Peter 3:8-9 says, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Even though God is patient, we can’t neglect the fact that we don’t have all the time in the world. No one knows the day nor the hour to when Jesus will return. That’s why we all need to take advantage of the opportunities God presents to us, especially the invitation to receiving eternal life. Seek Jesus because He is aware of where you currently are in life. He’s aware of the sin you struggle with. He’s aware of the pain you feel and the shame that haunts you. He has an answer for it all—Him! You just have to open up your heart to receive Him!
Don’t let your hearts be hardened this day! Receive the One who died for you and receive the security of your future with Him!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16