As Lent begins, we remember the love and work of Jesus. We often use this season to reorient ourselves and draw nearer to Jesus in the lead up to Easter. Over the coming weeks we will be reflecting on the theme of restoring community by watching what Jesus does to restore people and communities in the Gospels.
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘restoration’?
After the devastating bushfires this summer, Australians will come together and work towards restoration over the coming months and years. Homes, businesses, services, mental health, physical health, and communities will need to be restored. A holistic approach will need to be taken.
Jesus restored the varying aspects of people’s lives.
Jesus often defied cultural norms. This was no different when he invited himself into the home of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who practiced theft and gross injustice. Can you imagine the reaction of the crowd who were gathered around them? They more than likely would have been bewildered and at worst outraged. This man who claimed to be the Son of God was associating with a tax-collector – a sinner.
Jesus invited an outcast into the centre of his time and attention. He was challenging social structures, beginning to restore the social status of those who were deemed unholy and sinful.
Jesus’ kindness towards him moved Zacchaeus to respond to others in kind. ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ (Luke 19:8). As Jesus restored Zacchaeus’ position in society, Zacchaeus gave to the poor and returned that which he had stolen. He brought restoration to those who were poor and those whom he had stolen from.
Have you encountered Jesus? Have you encountered his restoration? How has he restored you (spiritually, physically, emotionally, and relationally)? Does this motivate you to bring restoration to the lives of others?
Having received Jesus’ restoration, Zacchaeus gave to those in need. CBM works to restore the lives people with disabilities who work in developing countries. You can join us in this work by donating today.
Bible Passage – Luke 9:1-10
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But 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.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”