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John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This scripture, which we all know by heart, says “whosoever”, which is an all-encompassing term, without exclusion/all inclusive.  God doesn’t reject people who believe in Him, regardless of their past or position.  It’s not always so with people. A prime example is the story of Zacchaeus.

Luke 19 (NKJV): Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.

Zacchaeus was supervisor over a number of tax collectors, receiving all that was above the tax as a profit.  As such, he was very much rejected then and would probably be held with the same contempt today.

Little did Zacchaeus know that while he was looking for Jesus and a subsequent life-change, Jesus was actually seeking him!  In this divine encounter, we see that while we make plans to approach God at some level, God is already at work approaching us.

Jesus came to the tree where Zacchaeus was positioned and called him by name. Joyfully, Zacchaeus responded to the Savior’s invitation.  To be called out and to feel invited was an unexpected joy. Despite all he had done in the past, in this present encounter there was an inviting presence.  By responding to Jesus, Zacchaeus took steps to redeem his life of isolation and rejection.  God’s invitation is available to “whosoever”, in other words, to all.

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