Jesus] looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said.” Luke 19:5
For all of Zacchaeus’ life, he’d been ridiculed and rejected, first for his appearance and then for his sinful life. It’s what he’d come to expect from everyone until Jesus changed everything.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a Jew working for Rome. He gathered more taxes from the Jewish people than Rome required so he could get rich off of the excess. Zacchaeus was taking advantage of his own people!
But here’s what happened when Zacchaeus met Jesus: “[Jesus] looked upat Zacchaeus and called him by name! ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said” (Luke 19:5).
Jesus not only looked at Zacchaeus. Jesus also showed that he knew him by calling Zacchaeus by name. Imagine the shock Zacchaeus must have felt! How did Jesus know his name?
The name Zacchaeus means “pure one.” But that’s the last way most people probably would have described Zacchaeus. He was a corrupt government official; he was anything but pure. But when Jesus called Zacchaeus by name, it was as if he was saying, “Hey, pure one, I’m coming to your house today.” Jesus was affirming what he knew Zacchaeus could be, not what Zacchaeus was on the surface.
God does the same for you. He not only knows where you are; he knows who you are. He knows what you’re going through, why you’re going through it, and how you feel about it. He knows you better than you know yourself. He cares about you personally.
You may be afraid to get close to Jesus because you think he’s going to scold you for all the things you’ve done wrong. But Jesus wants to affirm you for who he’s created you to be. He wants to let you know how much he loves you.
The Bible says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).
When Jesus stretched out his arms and the soldiers put nails through his hands, your name was already engraved there. When you get to heaven, there will be no scars on anyone except Jesus. He’s going to have those scars for eternity to remind you of how much he loves you.
Through those scars, it’s as if he says, “Do you think I could forget you? Not a chance! This is how much you matter to me.”