Home Improvements (Part 1)
If you read the title and were hoping for DIY tips – sorry I’m of no use! This week’s blog posts are about a very different kind of improvement that happens in our homes. If you read through the New Testament you’ll see that some of the most profound changes in the lives of people happened when they met with Jesus in their own house. This season where we are spending so much time at home can feel like a pause while we wait for things to return to some kind of ‘normal’. But with Jesus, we can expect our home-time to be anything but a pause! This week we are going to meet a few of the people that saw some rather wonderful and inspiring ‘home improvements’.
Zacchaeus is a character from the Bible that I’ll always have a soft spot for (I understand what it’s like to be short!). In the Bible (Luke 19:1-10) we hear that he was a rich chief tax collector, undoubtedly corrupt in his dealings. But Jesus spots Zacchaeus up a tree (which he’d climbed up in order to get a better view) and asks if He can come and stay at his house. Zacchaeus hurries down and is happy to let Jesus come.
We know that Zacchaeus’ house would have been rather lavish given he was so rich, but that wasn’t Jesus’ reason for wanting to stay! I wonder what Zacchaeus must have seen in Jesus’ face or heard in His voice, to be so quick to welcome Him into the reality of his sinful life? Did he have a sense that deep down something in his life wasn’t quite right? Was he curious about who Jesus was? Maybe he was surprised that someone actually wanted to spend time with him.
We don’t find out exactly what happened at Zacchaeus’ house, but we know the result: Jesus said “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9) and Zacchaeus was evidently such a changed man that he wanted to right the wrongs of his past and give back the money he’d taken fraudulently. His house had become a living place of salvation, and likely looked and felt different as a result. He’d probably sold many of his possessions to be able to repay those he had cheated, and with a smaller income he likely had fewer staff and a simpler lifestyle. I’m sure this change would have been puzzling to those who knew him.
I wonder what will happen today in our houses if we dare to accept Jesus’ request to come and stay with us, and welcome Him into the messy reality of our lives? What would He see and hear? I wonder if there is anything in our lives that needs to be re-ordered for our lives and our home to be transformed as Zacchaeus’ was? Let’s say “Yes” today and open the door knowing that, as Zacchaeus found, we will be met with love and transformation.
“Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9)