Transforming Society through God’s Faithfulness

Zaccheus

Zaccheus

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “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.”

Jesus said to him, “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 the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NIV)

There is a famous cartoon before, which has become a top grossing Hollywood movie- the Transformers. Two groups of robots fight each other in a robot planet- the Autobots headed by Optimus Prime and the Decepticons headed by Megatron. These robots have the capacity to transform themselves from innocent trucks or vehicles into monstrous and powerful robots equipped with high caliber guns and then back. However, while they have the power to change their appearance, they do not have the power to change their nature. An autobat will remain an Autobot and a Decepticon will remain a Decepticon from start to finish.

That brings us to focus the man in the text, Zaccheus. He was a rich man, a tax collector but many perceived him as a corrupt official. He was a very short man so he had to climb up a tree so he could see Jesus. All he wanted was to see who Jesus was but to his surprise, Jesus said that He would have to stay in his house.

Any person who wants to see Jesus must be ready for a miracle. Seeing Jesus is seeing His glory and in that instance, His glorious presence will dawn on that person, and He will never be same person again.

In the narrative, Zaccheus upon welcoming the Lord into his house felt a sudden change. He gave half of his wealth to the poor and promised that if he had cheated anyone, he would pay those four times. For a wealthy person to give up a big part of his possessions there must have been something very strong that had urged him- the power of Christ to transform life.

The greatest miracle of all has dawned on Zaccheus that precise moment. Jesus has saved him and has transformed him into a new being. This is the very reason why the Lord has come on earth- to seek and save the lost.

Are you curious to see Jesus and know who He really is? Come and see like Zaccheus and He will meet you right where you are and mend the wounds you might be hiding. He will meet your deepest need and will transform your life for good.

This miracle can transform society through those who have experienced in their lives the power of Christ and His unwavering faithfulness.

I have condensed this post from the message of Rev Daniel Miranda, District Superintendent of Northwest District QCPACE of the United Methodist Church, Philippines at our Worship Service on February 24, 2013 as part of the month-long celebration of our church’s (Lagro UMC) anniversary.

Image Credit: livingdusty.com

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Changing From the Inside Out

According to the famous Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “Nothing is permanent but change”. Change is inevitable. Yet, many do not want to change. Many are so content in their comfort zones that they cannot afford moving out. The world hates change yet nothing else brings progress.

What makes people change?

  1. Personal Experience- We all learn from our experiences. Once we realize that we have made a mistake, we always try to correct it. Sometimes, we do not watch our steps until we stumble and fall. Only when we get hurt do we begin to examine our ways.
  2. Other Peoples’ Experiences- Sometimes, we learn from other peoples’ experience. We see their mistakes and the resulting circumstance, which are often unpleasant and that prompt us to stay away from similar errors.
  3. Pressure- Sometimes, people around us push us to do some changes in our life.
  4. Tired of Old Ways- There are instances when people do change because they get bored or tired of their own lifestyle. They want to have a new look, or do something new.
  5. Just for the Sake of Changing- While, some people change just for the hype of it.
  6. Conviction of the Holy Spirit- The deeper cause of inward change is the prompting of God by the power of the Holy Spirit to change your life for the better.

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a NEW creation….

How can we describe being N-E-W?

N – E – W

Newness of Life.

Newness of life in biblical standard is being “in Christ”. The Lord Jesus is the only source of genuine change. This newness of life is a matter of the heart. We hear about “being born again”, “regeneration” and “sanctification.” All these terms refer to a change of heart: “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” –Mark 7:21-22. Sin tries to build its seat in the heart of man and unless a man be “in Christ”, he is far from the newness of life.

Eternal Change.

Change in Christ is permanent and eternal. It does not revert to the old ways. This is transformation: a 360-degree turn from sin. Does it mean that we are no longer sinners if we receive Christ in our life? No. We are still sinners but there is a big difference. Before, we are sinners running after sin. Now, we are sinners running away from sin.

Witnessing.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Praise be to God! By God’s grace, we have new life in Christ. Life that is eternal, fruitful and fulfilling. However, it does not end there. In the succeeding verses in 2 Corinthians 5, we can see why God has given us new life: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” -2 Cor 5:18-20.

God has made us living testimonies of His miracle to change lives. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors of peace unto the world. God has chosen us to tell the world about His goodness and His power to mend lives. It is not a repair job or some excellent refurbishing. God has given us a brand new life; a brand new creation by His mercy and grace.

I have condensed this post from the message of Rev Allan Asuncion, Administrative Pastor of Tatay United Methodist Church, Rizal Philippines at our Worship Service on February 3, 2013 in celebration of our church’s (Lagro UMC) anniversary.