It’s amazing how God arranged Jesus’ schedule so he could fulfill his mission, “To seek and save the Lost” (Luke 19:10). Equally amazing is that he’ll do the same for us if we’ll keep our eyes and ears open and our heart alert.
Here’s how it worked for Jesus one when he had several encounters on his way to Jericho. First he met 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 to have mercy on him (Luke 18:13). Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisee and praised the tax collector. Later he met a rich, young, ruler whom he told to sell his possessions and give them to the poor if he wanted eternal life. No doubt stunned and saddened, the rich man walked away. Next, Jesus encountered a blind man who loudly pleaded for healing. Jesus heard his cry and said, “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you” (Luke 18:42).
After these earlier encounters, Jesus entered Jericho, the home town of Zacchaeus-a hated tax collector. I believe Zacchaeus had heard how Jesus praised the humility of a tax collector over the arrogance of a Pharisee. If so, I suspect it gave him hope. I think he heard that Jesus exposed a rich man’s greed and misplaced faith. If so, it likely pierced his conscience. I suspect he heard that Jesus healed a man because of his faith. If so, maybe, just maybe, it meant God would accept him, too. If so, each word stoked Zacchaeus’s spirit and fueled his determination to see Jesus. That’s what drove him to climb a Sycamore tree beside the road Jesus would soon be walking on. When Jesus saw him in the tree, he called him down and invited himself to eat at the tax-collector’s home. Before they had left for the meal, Zacchaeus expressed his faith and promised to pay back four times as much as to anyone he defrauded.
Keep in mind that Christ didn’t get up in the morning, gather his disciples, and set the agenda for the day:
- 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 down Zacchaeus, a notorious tax collector, from the limb of a tree
- Noon: Lunch with Zacchaeus at his home
Jesus didn’t tap into his divine nature to get an advance peek at the morning. Though his Father told him about some future events, such as his death and resurrection, there is no indication he told Jesus everything. But God did orchestrate the events of Jesus’ day so he could fulfill his mission, just as he does for us. Because Jesus always abided in his Father, he walked by faith, just as we will when we abide in Jesus. God prepared Zacchaeus’s heart for an encounter with Jesus, as he prepares the hearts of people we meet. But Jesus had to walk in tune with his Father in order to accomplish his mission.
Don’t miss this profound truth: God arranges our schedules 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 eyes open because God’s got something planned for you today.