Suppose you have a friend who is blind, and one day you meet him and he claims to be cured, how would you know if he really was cured? Simple! You could test his ability to see, and there would be the proof.
But if you met someone who claimed to have become a "Christian" how would you know if he or she really was a Christian? This short story will help you to recognize the difference between the real Christian and someone who just says he's a Christian.
A man was seen running away from Jesus! This man wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. He ran ahead of Him "and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him, since Jesus was coming that way." 1*. From the tree he could watch and listen.
"When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down immediately, I must stay at your house today.'" 2*.
Zacchaeus was not a popular man with the people - he was "a chief tax collector and was wealthy," and he was a well known "sinner".. Yet, "he came down at once and welcomed Jesus gladly."
"All the people saw this and began to mutter, 'He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.'" 3*.
But this little sinful man had come to realise that he needed Jesus, the Saviour of the world.
Have YOU realised that you need the Saviour to come into your life, and do you want Him to change the way you live? Many many people today want to still "enjoy the pleasures of sin." 4*. They do not want their habits, their language, their empty religious duties, their deceit or lust to be taken from them! 5*. Such people might like to call themselves "Christians" but their lives prove they are not true followers of Christ at all! 6*.
Why did Jesus come from Heaven and be born of the virgin Mary to be "the Son of Man"? He came "to seek and to save what was lost," 7*. He came to be able to take away sin from people's lives by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross for our sins. 8*.
Little Zacchaeus knew his need and he wanted this Jesus to be his Saviour. That day "salvation" came to him and his whole life and business were changed. It was not difficult to see that Zacchaeus really had trusted Jesus to forgive his sins and change his life! "Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord ! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'" 9*.
You see, Jesus changes lives , so you CAN recognise all those who truly are trusting in Him. 10*.
I hope you will be as eager today, as Zacchaeus was, to trust in Jesus by faith to forgive your sins and change your life, to the glory of God. Read about Zacchaeus in Luke's Gospel chapter 19, verses 1-10.
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To read more of Luke's account of the life of Jesus turn to the Gospel of Luke in the Holy Bible.