Oh perfect Love!
One of my favourite chapters in the Bible is Luke 19. Here we have the account of Zacchaeus, a man who as the NKJV Bible states, “sought to see who Jesus was”. Yet, because of his short stature, he was unable to see above the crowd. To alleviate his problem, he has an idea. Running ahead of the crowd he decides to climb up a sycamore tree – a good vantage point. And, as Jesus walks by, he looks up at Zacchaeus, calling him to hurry down because Jesus intends on staying at the tax collector’s home. (I encourage you to read Luke 19:1–10.) This account shows us the power of the love of Jesus and how it transforms a person’s heart. Zacchaeus was a changed man after his encounter with his Lord.
Although I am not Zacchaeus, I know how Jesus touches the heart, having experienced it on many occasions. On one particular occasion while on holiday with our children, we decided to attend the new year’s worship service at the local Lutheran church. The sermon on that day I shall never forget, it was a beautiful balance of law and gospel. As the pastor was nearing the end, the Gospel was pronounced in such a way that I found myself wiping tears from my eyes, not just one or two but streams of wet droplets. I looked across at my teenage daughter at the other end of the pew, who also was mopping up the puddles under her eyes! The good news of the love of Jesus has that effect on sinners such as us!
There is a name for this love of Jesus that changes the hearts of men, it is called “agape”. This “agape” is the ultimate form of love. It is God’s sacrificial love for us and, in turn, our mutual love for God and our fellow human beings. When the beautiful words of salvation through Jesus penetrate our hearts, when God reveals to us just how great the price he paid for our rescue, it creates a change. Just like Zacchaeus, we no longer seek our own gain, instead, we look outward seeking the best for others. The Holy Spirit can only produce fruit of this kind, rich in flavour and abundant in goodness.
Incarnate LOVE, that died for man’s salvation.
And for our guilt the ransom fully paid:
Cleansed from all sin, we fear no condemnation,
In beauteous robes of righteousness arrayed;
Thy glory we shall ever see,
In endless song of praise adore and worship thee. (LHS 154v3)
Thankyou Jesus! Amen.