Saturday, October 11, 2008

Paint


Luke 19:1-10 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.”
Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham!
For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

When it comes to saving people, Jesus was (is) truly the master. Zacchaeus is living proof that our natural reactions to “sinful” people, i.e. our attitudes of hostility and prejudice, don’t help change people. It only drives the bad behavior deeper.
If the townspeople had the authority to require Zacchaeus to change that would be one thing, but since they couldn’t make him change, their attitude toward him only made him more determined to look out for number one.
Jesus changes everything with just a word, a kind word. And suddenly, we see a different man in Zacchaeus after this brief conversation with Christ.
I like the look of natural wood. I like to see the grain of the wood. I think it is more beautiful than the most original tint or texture of paint.
Why do we paint things anyway? To make them match, to cover things up.
That’s what bad behavior is. It is an attempt to change the subject or cover something up or protect ourselves from something.
The problem is that when we try to remove the paint, if we’re not careful, we don’t just remove the paint,. We may scrape or cut or gouge the wood underneath.
The question we have to answer is “What is underneath the surface that we can't see?”
There is a person under that covering, under that paint if you will, that God dearly loves and wants to deal with in a loving way.
A lost child that he wants to restore.
Maybe they have applied a coat of paint to themselves as a cover up, to make themselves appear differently than they are, to protect themselves.
Jesus can remove this coat of paint, this fa├žade of behavior with just a simple knock, a kind word. We should be careful let Him have his way.

1 comment:

David George Montalvo said...

Once, two pastors met me at a restaurant to tell me there was nothing good in me. After committing a great wrong these men led me to believe I was worthless and incapable of change. The words from these spirit filled men stung and dug deep. After that, I spent the next five years in a spiral of sin.

Thank you for such a great article. I hope more people share kind words like Jesus that drive people to the presence of God.