A Life Transformed by God’s Unconditional Love

Jesus and Zacchaeus

In our unshakable pursuit to know God more, show His love unconditionally, and make disciples who make disciples, look at Jesus’ interactions with others.

We see many examples of Jesus’ unconditional love. In a story often used with preschoolers, we see unconditional love in Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus had influence over other people’s lives and so do you. How is the demonstration of God’s unconditional love in your life drawing other people to Him?

Read Luke 19:1–10.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Several things surface in this encounter that apply to our lives.

  • Use every opportunity to be intentional in demonstrating God’s unconditional love. Jesus was “passing through” Jericho. We, too, are often passing through one place to get to another. Jesus saw opportunity with Zacchaeus and stopped and spent intentional time with him. This encounter demonstrates that Jesus loves people unconditionally (remember Zacchaeus was basically a thief) and takes time for encounters with them that can be transforming.
    • Personal Reflection: As you are “passing through”, do you take advantage of the opportunities to stop and have spiritual conversations with people along the way? Ask God to help you see people and love them unconditionally.
  • Seek Jesus. Crowds were gathering to see Jesus and Zacchaeus wanted a glimpse as well. Because he was short, he “ran ahead” and climbed a sycamore tree to get a better view. This type of fig tree has low branches and easy access to climb but is a tree whose fruit is usually not very good and is usually eaten by poor people. How poor we are without Jesus. Zacchaeus was very rich by the world’s standards but apart from Jesus extremely poor spiritually. It’s interesting to think about whether Jesus saw him as “fruit”—ready for the harvest.
    • Personal Reflection: Where do you stand in your own relationship with Jesus? Has He called you to get down out of your tree and follow Him? What’s your response to Him? We are busy and pack our days full. What may look different if you “ran ahead” of your busy life and made time to seek Jesus?
  • Give Jesus ALL of your life. The passage documents how different Zacchaeus’s life was after his encounter with Jesus. His life of stealing or cheating for his gain switched to one of recompense. It was a sinner’s life transformed by God’s unconditional love. It seems Zacchaeus held nothing back in his life and it all belonged to Jesus.
    • Personal Reflection: Jesus “lodged” with Zacchaeus. He wants to lodge with us. In fact, He wants to make His home in us. How do you receive Jesus each day? (Zacchaeus received Him joyfully.) To love unconditionally, what needs to be adjusted in your life?


By Karen Pace, consultant Georgia Baptist Women

Image credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org


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