Weekly Devotional | "When God Crosses My Path"
Day 1: The Darkness of Jericho
- “Zacchaeus didn’t want to change. He had no virtue. He didn’t have anything in himself that would help him draw near to the ways of God. Neither the life in the city, nor our occupations, nor our curiosity, can take us to know the ways of the Lord, because the ways of the Lord are the Lord’s.” Pepe Mendoza
- “The ways of the Lord will always be subject to God’s sovereignty and initiative.” Pepe Mendoza
- “It doesn’t matter if man doesn’t have faith. It doesn’t matter if the rich young ruler doesn’t reach the standard. Because he who will reach us is the Lord. That’s the secret of this passage.” Pepe Mendoza
Questions and Reflections:
- Why was Zacchaeus interested in seeing Jesus? Was he interested in repentance or something more superficial?
- Many claim to know God because they had a powerful or emotional spiritual experience. Why don’t these experiences always indicate a repentant heart?
- Romans 3:9-18 captures all of our lives apart from God’s saving grace. Praise God for taking the initiative to save us while we were still his enemies. Ask him to give you a greater burden for those who are still lost.
Day 2: Jesus Meets Zacchaeus
- “I love when it says, “when Jesus arrived at the place” . . . It is as if Jesus had as his destination that place; as if Jesus had decided to stop at that place in his sovereignty because that’s how it was in his heart. It was not in Zacchaeus’ curiosity because, like Zacchaeus, there was hundreds more surrounding him. It was because the Lord wanted to do something in that man at that time.” Pepe Mendoza
- “The Lord didn’t want a selfie with him. The Lord didn’t want to small-talk with him. The Lord wanted to enter into Zacchaeus’ life and he made it publicly noticeable.” Pepe Mendoza
- “There’s something interesting that we normally don’t think about. Have you ever thought that when the Lord comes into your life, when the Lord makes his presence manifest in your life, the Lord is putting in danger his own reputation with you? The merciful God calls Zacchaeus and puts his own reputation in danger.” Pepe Mendoza
Questions and Reflections:
- Explain how merely associating with Zacchaeus endangered Jesus’ reputation?
- Zacchaeus had a profound sense of Jesus as “Lord” and had an appropriate reverence in response. Compare your reaction to Jesus with that of Zacchaeus. What helps us cultivate a greater fear of the Lord?
- Consider the humility of Jesus in Philippians 2:1-8. Ask God to help you walk with a deeper reverence and dependence on him. Ask that he would place an aspiration in you for the same humility Christ showed.
Day 3: The Light Meets the Dark
- “The ways of the Lord have collided with the center of Zacchaeus’ life. And therefore he says, ‘Behold Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.’” Pepe Mendoza
- “When he presented himself with this affirmation before the people, according to the customs of that time, he was signing a public contract that he was going to give half of his money to the poor. Therefore what enslaved him the most now was broken.” Pepe Mendoza
- “Repentance does not only mean to turn around. Zacchaeus was turning around in terms of his vision towards money. He was abandoning his own evil paths. But repentance also means to recognize the magnitude of my own sin.” Pepe Mendoza
Questions and Reflections:
- Closely examine verse 9. Where did Zacchaeus’ salvation come from? Was it his works? How does this verse connect with what we learned in James 2:14-26?
- What was so beautiful about Jesus’ affirmation that Zacchaeus “also is a son of Abraham”?
- Jesus freed Zacchaeus from the wealth he was enslaved to. What enslaving sins has Jesus freed you from? Describe your attitude towards your old ways. Is there an appropriate hatred for them? What corresponding good works has Jesus redeemed you to?
- In verse 10 Jesus summarizes his mission. He willingly left heaven to save lost sinners like us. Praise God for being so gracious! Ask him to help all of us at Sovereign Grace Church to appreciate this precious salvation more.
Group Discussion Questions:
- Our desires contradict God’s ways. Due to the mystery of God’s character and action, we often times only notice this retrospectively. How have you seen your desires contradict God’s ways in the past week(s)? What has God revealed to you about those desires and his will?
- Zacchaeus curiously observed Jesus, but Jesus is the one who made the concerted effort to pursue Zacchaeus. Pepe explains this curiosity is good, but it will never take you to the Lord. It often is driven by one’s merits, as well as a desire to keep this interaction with Christ safe and temporary. Is there a component of your testimony that resembles this same curiosity and hesitation? How did Christ purse you despite your inadequacy to love him?
- Jericho was a beautiful and bustling city during the time Jesus passed through it. Jericho’s lively entertainment, crossing commercial routes, and residing royal family only scratched the surface of its available distractions. We also live in a large city marked by distractions. How can we, as a community group, fully embrace the freedom God has given us by his mercy in order to reach those like Zaccheaus in Louisville?