Word of the Month

I want to see the Lord!

September 2012

When reading through Scripture one often notices that one is constantly discovering new aspects—even about events and Bible texts that are very familiar—and deriving new insights from them. One of the more familiar biblical accounts is that of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who climbed up a tree in order to see Jesus. At the beginning of this account of his encounter with the Lord in the gospel of Luke there is a significant sentence: “And he sought to see who Jesus was” (Luke 19: 3).

Zacchaeus was very short, but he had his heart set on seeing the Lord Jesus. With all the crowds of people he would hardly have had any chance to even get a glimpse of the Lord. For this reason he climbed a mulberry tree. He spared no effort in order to see the Lord. Then the Lord came by, spotted Zacchaeus in the tree, and called to him: “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house!” (Luke 19: 5). The result of this encounter with the Lord was that salvation came to his house. All of this began with a simple longing: “I want to see the Lord!” Zacchaeus did everything in his power to be able to see Jesus.

If we seek to experience the Lord, if we want to experience His salvation—and who would not want such a thing?—then this strong desire, this longing, must also live within us: “I want to see the Lord!” And it will not suffice for this to be a one-time affair either. Rather this must be our ongoing wish and desire, even though our situations and circumstances of life are constantly changing. When this is the case, something wonderful happens: the Lord hears our cry and addresses us. He also spoke to Zacchaeus even though the man’s life to that point had been far from perfect. “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house!” Whenever we turn to the Lord with a longing heart, we too will receive such an answer! Dear brothers and sisters, this is a divine law, a promise upon which we can depend. But we must also seek Him sincerely and, like Zacchaeus, spare no effort.

The Lord said: “I must stay at your house!” This is something we at times overlook! If we want to feel the Lord’s presence in our lives—if something is to change in our lives or in our circumstances—then the Lord must also come to stay with us. This means we must open our hearts to Him and let the Saviour in! Let us not distance ourselves from Him! Let us allow Him to come in—and let us do so in such a manner that He can also dwell with us. Then salvation will come to us—and after that we will also take the next step, which can likewise be very clearly identified in the case of Zacchaeus: we will begin a new life.

If we take another step further we can say that even at the beginning of the new life that will begin with the return of Christ, the wish and longing will still remain: “I want to see the Lord!” If this longing is so strong that it overcomes all obstacles, the Lord will certainly not overlook us on His day, but rather lead us into His eternal dwelling place.

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)