God arranged Jesus’ schedule so he could fulfill his mission: “To seek and save the Lost” (Luke 19:10). And he does the same for us.
Here’s how it worked for Jesus:
One day as he walked to Jericho he encountered a Pharisee who thanked God he wasn’t a sinner like other men, “or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11)–the one standing beside him begging God for mercy (Luke 18:13). Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisee and praised the tax collector. Later he told a rich-young-ruler to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. No doubt stunned and saddened, the young man walked away. Next, Jesus encountered a blind man who pleaded for healing. The Lord heard his cry and said, “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you” (Luke 18:42).
After these meetings Jesus entered Jericho, the home town of Zacchaeus-a hated tax collector. Had Zacchaeus heard that Jesus praised the humility of a tax collector and condemned the arrogance of a Pharisee? If so, did it give him hope? Was his conscience pricked when he heard Jesus exposed a rich man’s greed? Did expectation swell when he learned the Lord had healed a faith-filled blind man. Did all of this create hope that Jesus would accept him? Is that what drove him to climb a Sycamore tree to see Jesus pass by?
We don’t know his motives. But we do know when Jesus saw Zacchaeus clinging to a tree branch, he called him down and invited himself to lunch. Before they had left for the meal, Zacchaeus expressed his faith and promised to pay back four times as much as to anyone he had defrauded.
Keep in mind that Jesus didn’t get up in the morning, gather his disciples, and set the day’s agenda:
- 9:00 am: Tell story of Pharisee and tax collector
- 10:00 am: Talk with rich-young-ruler
- 11:00 am: Heal blind man
- 11:30 am: Call a tax collector down from a tree
- Noon: Eat lunch with Zacchaeus
Though God told Jesus about some future events, such as his death and resurrection, there is no indication he told Jesus everything. Instead, the Lord listened for his Father’s guidance moment by moment. Jesus knew his Father arranged every event and encounter so he could fulfill his mission, just as he does for us.
Don’t miss this truth: God arranges our schedule so our lives will have maximum impact. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Since that’s the case, keep your heart open because God’s got something planned for you today.