A few years ago I went on a mission in Lithuania where the band, Newsboys were playing. They were actually sharing the same hotel as us. My friend Gareth is a HUGE fan, so we were on the lookout to introduce ourselves if we saw them. Imagine our surprise when we were sat in the lobby one day and in walked one of the singers, Michael Tait. He walked past us, pointed straight at Gareth and said “Hey Gareth” (In a very cool way) as he went by. Gareth was gob smacked, his face was a picture! It turns out, our team leader had met Tait outside and put him up to it just to freak Gareth out!
Being picked out of the crowd by someone you idolize must be a great feeling. In Luke 19, we read a story of how Jesus did just that to a guy named Zacchaeus. He was not a popular guy, in fact he was a thief and a bit of bully but he was so desperate to see Jesus that he climbed a tree just so he could see above the crowd. In those days that act would be fairly humiliating and you can imagine the crowds reactions to him as he waited.
Can you image how Zacchaeus felt when the famous Jesus walked past and called his name? As the crowd booed and grumbled, Jesus invited himself over for tea! It impacted him so much that he changed his ways and became a follower of Jesus.
Do you realise that Jesus does the same to you? He walks up to you, calls you by name and asks you to invite him into your life. Jesus’ arms are always open to us, he is always happy when we choose to spend time with him.
Despite Zacchaeus’ obvious flaws, he had one thing going for him, he was desperate to meet Jesus. How desperate are you to spend time with your Saviour? Enough to push through the distractions that crowd him out? Enough to climb above your problems and questions to see his perspective? Enough to endure what the crowd may think of you to follow him with all your heart?
When we do, that’s when true transformation happens.