Do You Believe in Miracles?
One of Our Inspirational Devotions
photo courtesy of Godo-Godaj
Luke 19 Tells of a Miracle
Read the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. It is a beautiful picture of undeserved grace and life transformation. It is a picture of a miracle.
When Jesus encountered Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10, it was a moment of grace. Zacchaeus was not a respected member of his community. He was despised because of his job. As a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus worked for the Roman government at the expense of the Jewish people. Tax collectors became rich at the expense of the poor. He had the authority to take whatever he wanted. No doubt he was hated by most.
Jesus however, was known to be a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19). Grace is treating people better than they deserve. This is how Jesus treated Zacchaeus. Those watching did not approve. But Jesus loved Zacchaeus regardless.
Jesus message to Zacchaeus
and believe was the central theme of Jesus' public teaching. The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15). As a guest in the house of Zacchaeus, we can confidently assume that in private, Jesus delivered a similar message. He let Zacchaeus know that a life of cheating others was wrong. Zacchaeus needed to get right with God.
A miraculous transformation
Clearly, Zacchaeus was convicted and understood what Jesus expected. He made a bold announcement that must have shocked those who heard: "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" (Luke 19:8).
Jesus' response was proof that Zacchaeus' repentance was real. "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 what was lost" (Luke 19:9-10).
Encounters with Jesus bring change
Because of Jesus, Zacchaeus became a new person. Zacchaeus did not change his ways in order to be saved. His actions simply revealed a genuine encounter with the grace of God. The ripple effect was tremendous. Think of what took place in Jericho when its wealthy tax collector gave generously to the poor and paid back those he had cheated. Changed people change communities. That's the power of grace. That is a miracle!
|Do you believe in miracles? Read this
about the Battle of Jericho.
Only Jesus has the power to change people
Words alone don't change people. It takes supernatural power to change human nature. In his book, Radical, David Platt tells the story of an old preaching professor who took his students to a cemetery every semester. Overlooking dozens of headstones, he would ask his students in all sincerity to preach a sermon over the graves and call people from the ground to rise up and live. With some embarrassment, the students would try. Of course, one by one they would fail.
The professor would then look at his students and remind them of a core spiritual truth: "People are spiritually dead, just as those corpses in the cemetery were physically dead. Only words from God can bring them to spiritual life." Only Jesus has the power to save and transform. Do you believe in miracles? Jesus does and so do I.
photo courtesy of lrargerich
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
Permission to reprint Luke 19 - Do You Believe in Miracles? in its totality is granted. For any reuse or distribution author credit and web address is required.
Discussion questions for your Sunday School class or small group:
1. What examples of grace have you seen or experienced?
2. What evidence did Zacchaeus give of his new-found faith?
3. Do you believe that Jesus can change people? What examples can you give?
4. What things or people have you thought were "lost causes"? Will you pray for Jesus to work a miracle in them?
with questions or comments.
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