June 08, 2013

A Polluted Man

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.”
—Luke 19:9


If you visit Jericho today, you will see two important sites. One is Elisha’s spring, where Elisha healed Jericho’s toxic water more than 2,800 years ago, making it pure again. The spring stands in a park, marked by colorful tiles. “To this day” the water is pure (2 Kings 2:22).

The second important site is in the center of town. It’s a sycamore tree in a park. If you visit there, you will be told that while it might not be the same tree Zacchaeus climbed, it’s located in the same area where Zacchaeus met Jesus.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector—a traitor to fellow citizens because he worked for the oppressive Roman government, and a thief because he could charge whatever he wanted for taxes and keep the extra money for himself. Zacchaeus was a polluted man.

But Jesus saw beyond all that, and he offered Zacchaeus a chance to separate himself from everything that defiled him. Zacchaeus showed by his response that from that day onward he was a changed man.

Jesus can do that with anyone. To those who seek him, he will be found. If people don’t know they are lost, Jesus will seek them out.

The name Zacchaeus means “clean, pure.” How happy Zacchaeus must have been to finally live up to his name!

Lord, you came to lift the curse of sin and to cleanse us of our unrighteousness. Where we are dirty, cleanse us; where we suffer under the curse of sin, free us. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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