Speaking Of Life 1049 | Transforming Power of Love
A few years ago, the news in Colorado reported the story of a mother rescuing her five-year-old son from a mountain lion. The boy had been playing outside with his brother while his mother was in the house. She heard screaming and ran outside to find the mountain lion on top of her boy with her son’s head inside the lion’s mouth. She charged the animal, yanked its paws out of the way, and pried its jaws open to release her son. Where did she get the courage and strength?
It was love, right? Love gave this mother the ability to save her son from the mountain lion. Love can create physical change in people, like it did for this mother, but love is also the starting point for any transformation. The Bible is filled with stories that show this, but one of my favorites is the New Testament story of Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and back then, tax collectors were despised by the Jews. Not only were they linked to the Roman oppressors, but many of the tax collectors were known for charging a little extra for themselves. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, so you can imagine how disliked he was.
A crowd had gathered because they heard Jesus was coming to Jericho. Zacchaeus was too short to see over the crowd, so he ended up climbing up a tree to see Jesus. Listen to what Jesus said to this man who was hated by everyone:
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy (Luke 19:5-6, NLT).
What do you think the crowd did next? They complained and grumbled and criticized Jesus for hanging out with a “notorious sinner.” But listen to what Jesus’s acceptance of this “notorious sinner” prompted Zacchaeus to do:
Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:8-1 NLT).
Jesus knew that loving relationship was the starting place for change to happen, so that’s where he began. He didn’t come with a laundry list of wrongs that Zacchaeus needed to make right. He loved him and wanted to hang out with him, flaws and all. Feeling loved made Zacchaeus want to be better.
Love creates transformation. It can give us physical strength to save someone in trouble, like the mother saving her boy from the mountain lion. But when we know we are loved, we also want to do better and be better, just like Zacchaeus.
May you be transformed by knowing how deeply you’re loved.
I’m Michelle Fleming, Speaking of Life.