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By Grant Everly
There is a subtle component to Christ’s ministry on earth that often gets overlooked: Jesus made himself readily available to those who needed him. Time and time again throughout the gospel we see a man who teaches powerfully, heals incredibly and loves lavishly, but we also see a man who was willing to drop everything he was doing to simply be with and walk alongside those who were important to him.
In light of the Love Does Legacy Summit on Saturday, and iMPACT on Sunday, I’ve continually been struck by just how different the church would look if we had the same mentality as Christ when it came to our availability. There are three specific stories scattered throughout the gospel that have been on my mind a lot this past week. The first two were actually mentioned briefly by Bob Goff on Saturday.
The first is that of Zacchaeus. According to Luke 19:7, Zacchaeus was known as a definitive “sinner,” someone who Jesus could have, but, as he often chose to do, did not overlook. Upon noticing Zacchaeus up in a tree, Christ promptly invited himself over for lunch; he made himself fully available to one who greatly needed him.
The second is that of the suffering and sick woman who touched Jesus’s cloak. The pace of Christ’s ministry was blistering. Have you ever thought about that? We like to talk a lot about how difficult it is to maintain consistency in our spiritual walks due to the fact that we’re so busy. I can’t imagine how this excuse must sound to Christ; He was the man wherever he went. As He moved from city to city doing a plethora of miracles and giving profound wisdom in his teaching, he was ceaselessly followed by people who were trying to get a meager ounce of his attention. Yet despite this daunting pace, and the demands of those around him, when touched by a random woman in a ginormous crowd, Christ stopped everything he was doing to find out who touched his cloak (Mark 5:30). Not only that, Christ healed the woman; He postponed His life so that He could be fully engaged in someone else’s.
The last example of Christ’s availability comes in an often overlooked spot in a fairly common story: In John 4, Jesus has an encounter with a Samaritan woman. Long story short, the woman comes to believe that Christ is the Messiah and goes to tell her fellow Samaritans about their crazy encounter. Upon doing this, many of the Samaritans wanted to see Jesus and ended up urging “him to stay with them” (John 4:40). And as a matter of fact, Jesus ended up staying with them for two entire days, resulting in many people coming to faith in Him (John 4:41).
Throughout the gospel, we repeatedly see that Jesus took time out of his ever-busy ministry norm to devote himself fully to people and groups of people who needed his full, undivided attention. The reality for us is that we all have Zacchaeuses, sick women and Samaritan villages in our lives; we just need to take the time to make ourselves available to them. It’s not easy. Just as Christ had to postpone all of the important things in his ministry, so we may have to put some important areas of our lives on the back burner. But the rewarding reality is that in doing so, those around us are given a window into Christ’s love for us and are able to see the one who made himself fully and eternally available while dying on a cross.
So who’s your Zacchaeus?
Grant Everly is a senior at Warren Township High School and regularly attends church with his family and iMPACT on Sunday nights. He plays soccer, enjoys sports and has passion for learning more about Christ and growing in Him.