No. 118
From Wendy Howard [Editor of Despatch magazine], Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia.
Access Online

Getting to know God together.

Jesus got up to read in the place where the Jews worshipped God (the Synagogue). He read from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. It was all about Himself, for Jesus was the special One, the Jewish Messiah. This is what He read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath (has) anointed me (given me a special powerful ministry ) to preach the gospel (the good news) to the poor;
he (God) has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and re-covering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
(Luke 4:18).

Jesus Christ was sent by God to give good news to those who have no hope. To save and comfort those people whose hearts are broken because of sorrow and suffering. To take away the power of Satan in the lives of those who are his captives, lost in sin. To make blind people see, and show people the Truth about God. To help those who cannot see spiritual truth. To let them know that God is real and loves them. Jesus came to show that God cares about them more than anyone they have ever known. People were all bruised inside because of sin, and they did not have love and peace, and Jesus came to get them out of all that horrible stuff! He sets people free - for He is Love.

After Jesus became known as a teacher, crowds came running to hear His wonderful words. But He never tried to make a big impression, or to get in with the popular people. He always helped those who were needy and unhappy, even if they were not very nice. Zacchaeus was a man like that. He was a rich man, but no one would have liked him, because he gathered the tax (money) from the people. He was probably a bit of a crook. He was only a very short fellow, and had to climb in a tree to see Jesus when He came by, there was such a crowd. Zacchaeus would NEVER have thought Jesus would even to speak to him. Let’s have a look at what the Bible says about it:

“2 And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
3 And he sought (tried) to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press (lots of people), because he was little of stature ( a short man).
4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way].
5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide (stay) at thy house.
6 And he made haste (hurried), and came down, and received him joyfully.
7 And when they saw [it], they all murmured, (grumbled and mumbled) saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation (telling tales), I restore [him] fourfold.
9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  (Luke 19:2-9).

See how Zacchaeus responded to the great love of Jesus?
He completely changed from being a selfish, hateful, greedy crook! He saw how much he was loved, and then he loved others in return! Most of all he loved the Lord. That is what the word “repentance” means. Coming to our senses, and being filled with the love of God instead of the love of our own selves. I hope you have “repented” and now love the Lord with all your heart too. I do, very much indeed!

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