My Jesus had declared how the rich would find it hard to enter God's Kingdom. But look at Zacchaeus. He was a wealthy chief tax collector. That made it doubly impossible for him to enter God's Kingdom, being rich and chief tax collector--and we know how tax collectors and sinners were synonymous in those days, and perhaps, to some people, even today.
But one thing about Zacchaeus--he wanted Jesus so badly. Can you imagine a wealthy guy climbing up a tree? Well, the so-called Black Nazarene statue paraded every January 9 in Quiapo district, Manila, do have lots of folks climbing up obstacles just to touch it. I'm not talking about something like that. I'm talking about a rich man climbing up a tree "to see who Jesus was" [Luke 19.3]. You see the word who? Multitudes in the Black Nazarene feast just want to touch the wooden idol for some worldly favors, but Zacchaeus wanted to see "who" Jesus was.
If you want to know who someone is, that's deep. For instance, this showbiz fellow happens to pass by your way, so you grow a bit curious and want to see how he looks like in person. But if you have to literally climb up a tree to do it, I don't think you'd take the trouble. But if you want to know who this guy really is, you'd risk a bit and probably set up a meeting, just like what Zacchaeus did. He was serious.
And he got saved later. "Today, salvation has come to this house," my Jesus declared. And he didn't just get saved. He committed himself--and his wealth. That's something not may wealthy people would do. Remember the rich young ruler?
Genuine Salvation Factors
A lot of people went with Jesus, multitudes of them--most of them getting so blessed, but only a few committed to Jesus. To genuinely get saved by grace through faith and go on being saved and growing in Christ, we need to see important points here. Watch these vital elements for genuine salvation:
- Hunger to see who Jesus is
- Commitment to surrender all
- In step with God's plan and time
We can keep inviting everyone in our evangelism crusades and meetings, but majority of those folks would end up shouting later, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Yeah, they may become active church members and givers and quite "faithful" at that. But I notice that majority of "believers" forced into membership by human effort (even sincere efforts) end up just being part of the crowd, if not the order of the Pharisees. These are people "repeatedly invited, followed up, pestered or forced to join the church" prodded by the desire to up church membership and grow the denomination.