I was getting pretty bored with our family fishing vacation in Minnesota. So my dad decided to take little nine-year-old Ronnie to see Paul Bunyan, the legendary giant lumberjack. Actually, it’s this huge Paul Bunyan, sitting on a chair with his big ax and Babe the Blue Ox nearby. And there was this little log cabin at his feet. My dad went over to the ticket booth and came back with my ticket, which I eagerly gave to the ticket taker so I could go in and see big old Paul. As I walked in, I almost became the youngest heart attack victim in Minnesota history. Paul Bunyan’s big old voice boomed out across the grounds and said, “Hello, Ronnie.” I was blown away! How could I know that this was all a conspiracy? The ticket booth guy gets the kid’s name, relays it to the little man with a microphone in Paul’s log cabin, who then uses that information to welcome some unsuspecting little guy like me. All I knew was that that big guy knew my name!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The God Who Knows Your Name.”
I guess that’s one of the greatest surprises in our life, isn’t it? When it dawns on you that the biggest person there is in the entire universe actually knows your name and loves you, not as one of seven or eight billion inhabitants of Planet Earth, but as if you were the only one on this planet!
The day this God surprised a Jewish tax collector called Zacchaeus is the subject of our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 19, beginning with verse 1. “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man (I love this guy!) he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him…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.”
OK, surprise #1: Jesus knows you. Not only can He call you by name, but He knows exactly where you are, no matter how concealed you might think you are. He knows every dream, every fear, every sin, every battle, and every wound. And knowing all He knows, He wants to be with you forever!
Surprise #2: Jesus wants to go with you into your world. Notice, Jesus said, “Zacchaeus I want to go into your world.” Because of his greed and cheating, people despised this man. But Jesus scandalizes the town by picking Zacchaeus’ place as the place He would go. Jesus stands ready today, upon your invitation, to go with you into your personal world, no matter how broken, how shameful, and He will meet you there, not after you’ve cleaned yourself up.
Surprise #3: Jesus makes you what you never dreamed you could be. Zacchaeus ends up a new person, giving half of what he has to the poor and repaying four times whatever he has stolen from people. He’s a really big man for the first time in his life. When you welcome Jesus into your life, just as you are, He will make you into a man or woman you never thought possible. He died on the cross to forgive every sin of your life and to offer you the power to become a brand new person inside. But just like Zacchaeus, it starts only when you “welcome Him gladly.”
Maybe you’ve never really thrown open your life to Jesus even though you may have been around Him for a long, long time. He’s waiting to move into your life upon your invitation. In a way (maybe deep in your heart), He’s calling your name, even as you’re listening right now. Would you grab Him while He’s in town?
Tell Him, “Jesus, from this day forward, I’m pinning all my hopes on You. I’m Yours.” If you want to be sure you belong to Him, our website is there to do just that. Go there today, please – ANewStory.com.
He’s calling your name. Don’t miss Him.