Hope Changes Things

This is a true story from God’s Word.

Once a Jewish religious leader asked him this question: “Good sir, what shall I do to get to heaven?”

“Do you realize what you are saying when you call me ‘good’?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good, and no one else.

“But as to your question, you know what the Ten Commandments say — don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your parents, and so on.” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed every one of these laws since I was a small child.”

“There is still one thing you lack,” Jesus said. “Sell all you have and give the money to the poor — it will become treasure for you in heaven — and come, follow me.”

But when the man heard this he went sadly away, for he was very rich.

Jesus watched him go and then said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Those who heard him say this exclaimed, “If it is that hard, how can anyone be saved?”

He replied, “God can do what men can’t!”

And Peter said, “We have left our homes and followed you.”

“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and everyone who has done as you have, leaving home, wife, brothers, parents, or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over now, as well as receiving eternal life in the world to come.”

….

As Jesus was passing through Jericho, a man named Zacchaeus, one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business (and, of course, a very rich man), tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. So he ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree beside the road, to watch from there.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! “Zacchaeus!” he said.“Quick! Come down! For I am going to be a guest in your home today!”

Zacchaeus hurriedly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

But the crowds were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “Sir, from now on I will give half my wealth to the poor, and if I find I have overcharged anyone on his taxes, I will penalize myself by giving him back four times as much!”

Jesus told him, “This shows that salvation has come to this home today. This man was one of the lost sons of Abraham, and I, the Messiah, have come to search for and to save such souls as his.”

This story is found in God’s Word, the Bible, in Luke 18:18–30 and 19:1–10.
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