When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Luke 19:5 (NAB)
Can you imagine? What if Jesus stopped along the way and told you that He was going to stay at your house today? What would you do?
Would you run home and frantically begin cleaning? Would you get out the best china and silver and crystal…the best table linens? And what would you serve? Oh my!
I love the story of Zacchaeus. Here is this little man up in a tree trying to get a glimpse of Jesus. And, his effort did not go unrewarded. He received ever so much more than he had hoped for…not just a glimpse of Jesus, but Jesus as a guest in his home.
How kind Jesus was, and His kindness moved Zacchaeus to repent of his greed on the spot.
I’m sure that Zacchaeus did offer Jesus a table laden with all of the very best he had to give. But, I wonder if that is what Jesus would desire if He came to visit you or me today.
I doubt it. I think He would be very easy to please when it came to table settings and the food that was served. But what He would really be looking at is our heart. Do we love Him…really love Him? Are we genuinely happy that He came, and do we want Him to stay forever? Could we show Him all around the house, or would there be some things we might have to “put away” first?
What are we wearing? Would we be embarrassed? Oh, and would we try to keep Him all to ourselves, or would we invite over our friends and neighbors and allow them to share in the joy of Jesus’ Presence?
Actually, the most wonderful, beautiful truth is that Jesus is coming to your house today, and mine too. He comes everyday, if we invite Him. He wants to spend every moment with us, to share in all that we do and say. He is never weary of us. He longs for us to welcome Him like Mary of Bethany and sit at His feet and listen to His wisdom.
He wants to bless our food when we reverently say grace. He lovingly watches us go about our chores, His eyes never leaving us for a moment. How He longs for us to pause, and gaze back at Him, in the secret chamber of our heart.
If friends come over, He listens to hear if His Name is mentioned, and what we might say about Him. He measures our words. Are they kind and compassionate, patient and forgiving?
Everyday with Jesus is different, as we move through our lives. How blessed we are that He is always with us! “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.”
Some of my favorite characters in the gospels are those individuals whom Jesus sought out…like Zacchaeus, but also like the man born blind, whom Jesus looked for in the Temple, and the poor woman who touched the hem of His tunic and the woman at the well whom He engaged in a lengthy conversation.
How wonderful to be sought out by Jesus! Yet, we are! We all are! To each one of us, Jesus looks tenderly and says, “Today I must stay at your house.”
A beloved, holy priest, who is now deceased used to tell me: Make your heart a Bethany for Jesus. Let it be a place of refuge where He can come and rest and be loved.
Jesus said in His earthly life that “the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” Is this still not true in our own day? Maybe even more so? So many doors are closed to Jesus. So many do not believe in His Love…others do not even care. Like Martha and Mary, let us be His beloved friends.
Jesus, yes, stay with me today! I will try to dust off the tabernacle of my heart…the only cleaning you ask of me. I pray that you will find countless little Bethany’s in this world, where You will be welcomed and embraced and loved, where You can rest Your head and Your Heart, where You will be in the company of friends who adore You and desire Your Sweet Presence forever!
“Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” (Luke 24:29) NAB