Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. 

Luke’s story of Zacchaeus reveals a pattern we see repeatedly in the Gospels. It goes like this: Jesus seems to anticipate what is in someone’s heart and mind. He perceives a hunger, a restlessness, a searching for God, even if that person doesn’t fully realize it himself. Then Jesus “shows up” in some unexpected way that leads the person to new life and a change of heart.

Somehow Jesus knew that Zacchaeus would be sitting up in that sycamore tree. He also understood that Zacchaeus, despite his occupation and wealth, was ready to repent and welcome Jesus into his heart and his home. And Zacchaeus did just that, even publicly committing to repay four times over those he had cheated.

Where else do we see this pattern? Look at Simon Peter. After a fruitless night of fishing, Jesus shows up and tells him to try again. Peter is overwhelmed by the enormous catch of fish and leaves everything to follow Jesus (Luke 5:1-11). The Samaritan woman at the well is another example. Jesus notices her thirst and offers her living water instead, leading her to share the news that the Messiah had come (John 4:4-40). Or the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: Jesus sees their despondency and brings them hope and joy by revealing himself to them (Luke 24:13-27).

You might see this same pattern in your own story. When has the Lord unexpectedly “shown up” and given you just what you needed from him? Perhaps he helped open your eyes to see yourself or someone else differently. Or maybe he prompted you to change your attitude, viewpoint, or perspective. Whatever it was, his grace helped you to take a step closer to him.

The people Jesus encountered in the Gospels responded by placing a deeper trust in him—in his ability to heal and set free and in his call to follow him. May we follow their example and do the same in those times when Jesus anticipates our need and comes to us.

“Jesus, thank you for anticipating and fulfilling my every need!”

Luke 19:1-10
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22
Psalm 15:2-5


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