Wonder strikes when we see power greater than ourselves. When we live by our own power, wonder disappears. No wonder Christmas lacks wonder! We live by our own power and pursue our own purposes. Yet as we pursue the fullness of God’s purposes, we see our powerlessness; we are, indeed, lost. But Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). What will move our hearts to wonder at the One who came to save?
First we must pursue the One who draws near (Luke 19:1–4). Jesus is passing through Jericho, and Zacchaeus does not sit by idly. Instead Zacchaeus was actively seeking to see who Jesus was, so he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree (19:3–4). This active pursuit of Jesus is seen earlier with the persistent widow (18:3), the dejected tax collector (18:13) and the earnest beggar (18:38). Similarly in this Advent season, we celebrate that God has drawn near through his Son. This does not cause us to be passive, but we actively pursue Him. Wise men still seek him!
Also, we rejoice in the One who sees our shame (Luke 19:5–7). While Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, Jesus not only sees Zacchaeus but also invites him to come and eat with him. As a chief tax collector, he was probably filled with shame; he may even have climbed a sycamore tree because its thick foliage would prevent him from being seen by others. But Jesus sees him in his shame, and Zacchaeus obeys the call of Jesus and received him joyfully (19:7). Similarly, Jesus not only draws near to us, but he also sees us in our shame. He calls us sons and daughters. Therefore we rejoice. Joy comes to the world because the Lord has come and every (broken) heart prepares him room.
Finally, we change because He saves (Luke 19:8–10). The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (19:10). This salvation comes to the house. And when salvation comes, the whole house changes. The chief tax collector who lived by taking now gives generously (19:8). Change, transformation is the proof of our salvation. The story of Christmas is not simply about a cute baby in the manger, but it is about the radically transforming power of that Savior in the real selfishness and brokenness of our lives. We can change, no matter how messed up we are, because of the power of the One who saves.
Let us pray that this Advent our hearts might be moved to wonder at the One who came to save. May our hearts be moved as we pursue the One who draws near and rejoice in the One who sees our shame and change because of His power to save.