After several years of struggling to keep up in her studies, Angie was finally taken out of her elite primary school and transferred to a “normal” one. In Singapore’s intensely competitive education landscape, where being in a “good” school can improve one’s future prospects, many would see this as a failure.
Angie’s parents were disappointed, and Angie herself felt as if she had been demoted. But soon after joining her new school, the nine year old realized what it meant to be in a class of average students. “Mummy, I belong here,” she said. “I’m finally accepted!”
It reminded me of how excited Zacchaeus must have felt when Jesus invited Himself to the tax collector’s home (Luke 19:5). Christ was interested in dining with those who knew they were flawed and didn’t deserve God’s grace (v. 10). Having found us—and loved us—as we were, Jesus gives us the promise of perfection through His death and resurrection. We are made perfect through His grace alone.
I’ve often found my spiritual journey to be one of constant struggle, knowing that my life falls far short of God’s ideal. How comforting it is to know that we are always accepted, for the Holy Spirit is in the business of molding us to be like Jesus.
Father, thank You for loving me as I am, and for making me perfect through Your Son’s sacrifice. Teach me to submit to Your daily renewal.
We’re not perfect, but we’re loved.
In Luke 19, Jesus gives His mission statement: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (v. 10). Those words convey even more importance when we consider their timing: Jesus is purposefully, methodically making His way to Jerusalem to be crucified. On the way, He draws people to Him, including this despised, wealthy tax collector. The crowd had already judged Zacchaeus—and Jesus. “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner,” they said of Him (v. 7). Jesus saw it differently. Zacchaeus’s declaration, “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor,” revealed the change in his heart (v. 8); and Jesus responded, “This man, too, is a son of Abraham” (v. 9).
Are we prone to snap judgments about other people’s sins? Or do we see ourselves as recipients of God’s grace, freely extended to anyone who recognizes their need of it?