Viewpoint from Colin Wooden 15/09/2017
Elder, Bethel Gospel Hall
volunteer at the Great Yarmouth Seafarers Centre
as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
Tales of the Unexpected
When we set out for our two week visit to Romania this year, we could never have imagined that it would extend to an unplanned and unexpected six weeks. A fall, broken bones, a stay in hospital, followed by four weeks recuperation and then a three day car journey across Europe - all totally unexpected
When Israel left the slavery of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and camped for fifteen months in the shadow of Mount Sinai, they could never have imagined that the eleven days it should have taken them to reach the land God promised them, would in fact take forty years! Because of their rebellion and unbelief, no-one over the age of twenty who left Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua, set foot in that 'promised land'
It was centuries later, when Jesus walked the streets and lanes of that same 'promised land', that a certain notorious senior tax collector in Jericho (Luke's gospel chapter 19) was confronted with the totally unexpected, which included climbing a tree, and as a result became a remarkably changed man
Out of a curiosity and desire to see Jesus, Zacchaeus found himself inviting the Saviour to be a guest in his home. How long the Lord Jesus stayed with him we do not know, but it was long enough to convince him that a love for God and the need of salvation was far more important than all the wealth he had fraudulently amassed. People of the town soon noticed the change in him. Those who had previously been victims of his underhanded and immoral activity found that they were receiving back all that he had illegally extracted from them in tax, plus compensation! The poor and deprived citizens of the town also had cause to rejoice in Zacchaeus' amazing transformation when they received unexpected help and hand-outs from him. The man, who had earlier that day 'sought to see Jesus', discovered to his surprise that this 'Son of man' had come seeking him! He also discovered that without Jesus in his life, he was 'lost'
The Israelites, sadly, wanted the 'promised land' on their own terms, whereas Zacchaeus, accepting Jesus' terms for his life experienced real blessing. That same salvation and forgiveness is still open today for those who trust and receive Jesus as Saviour
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