Two Rich Men
At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
- Mark 10:22
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. - Luke 19:6
Two men. Both wealthy. Both wanting to see this Jesus. But that's where the similarities seem to end.
A rich young ruler. Likely, well liked. Accepted. Admired and looked up to. Who wouldn't want to be young, rich, and in charge? And this young man seemed to know it. Confident, bold, a man with a purpose. He had no problem walking right up to Jesus and asking what he needed to know.
What must I do? What must I do?
Zacchaeus. Likely world-wise. Certainly hated. Some called him, "notorious sinner." Few would have given him a kind look, never mind even considering dining with him. Short, rejected, an outsider. And he knew it well. Staying on the outside of the crowd, he didn't push himself through the crowd to meet this Jesus. He hung out in a tree; at a safe distance. Unassuming.
And Jesus is the one who imposes on him. "I must be a guest in your home today."
The rich young ruler walks away sad. Zacchaeus takes the quick elevator from his post in the tree filled with joy and excitement.
Two men. One young, full of strength, self-confidence and ability. The other, tread down by sin and rejection; ready and willing. Their words speak volumes. The rich young ruler sings his own praises, "I have kept all these things since my youth." Really? Who among us has lived so perfectly? Who among us is not in need of amazing grace? Yet, like the rich young man, in the strength of our youth and self-sufficiency, we make such claims.
Unless humility has taught us.
Zacchaeus knew his lack. We see it in his words. I need to care for the poor. I haven't. I've cheated others. I need to make that right. Standing before Jesus he didn't see a standard to be achieved, but rather a life to be imitated.
Where are you at? Are you strong? "Just give me a little more time. I'll get this right. I'll measure up." Or do you realize that you are sick and in need of a doctor? Blind and in need of sight.
You have a choice as to how you approach Jesus. In your own sufficiency and supply or, like Zacchaeus, in need and willing. Which way you choose to approach him will determine how you walk away from him.