In the gospel today, Zacchaeus joyfully welcomes Jesus into his home, where Jesus prompts a changed heart and mind in his host and proclaims salvation. All this reveals an undercurrent of hospitality and welcome that propels much of the narrative of the Bible. As in other instances of practiced hospitality, something important changes. Salvation is revealed in Zacchaeus’s changed heart and mind, and perhaps even in the changed perception of the crowds who witness Jesus accompanying Zacchaeus to his home. And the salvation that is visited upon Zacchaeus’s home will reach out into his neighborhood and community through his generosity and compassionate living.
In our worship today, we welcome the risen Christ to join us, and we invoke the name of God as we gather. God welcomes us around the communion table and through this holy hospitality feeds us with Christ, so that transformative salvation may follow us home and wherever we go.
Jesus encounters Zacchaeus, a rich man who is also a lost sinner. Moved by Jesus’ acceptance of him, Zacchaeus becomes a model of discipleship. In immediate response to being restored to God’s people, Zacchaeus ministers to the poor and seeks reconciliation with those whom he has wronged.
1[Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through it.2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”