Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Loving All Humanity Because of Jesus

Author Biography

    Ian's directed CBN regional offices in Southern and East Africa for five years. He loves building teams, telling stories and working in authentic Kingdom partnerships. Ian lives near the sea in Cape Town, South Africa with his wife, three kids, and their brown poodle.

Related Topics
Ian Walton - Regional Director, Southern Africa

The world-shaking events since 2020 have provided a stark reminder of our vulnerability as humans, as well as the fragility of the things we lean on. Unlike most other major calamities in history, the global pandemic, recent natural disasters, and the war in Europe have not only changed the lives of the poor and the vulnerable. Powerful people, systems, businesses and empires have been toppled in their deadly wake. No matter what we may believe, very few people need to be convinced that this world, including themselves, is broken and struggling.

Religion offers very little comfort besides a feel-good sentiment and a vague hope that the afterlife might be better. Religion requires our “goodness” and offers forgiveness and reward in return. Religion asks us to strive to become more like God so that we can be accepted by Him. But how does religion help when we’re feeling powerless, demotivated and crippled by difficulty, illness or despair?

“Come to me,” says Jesus. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (see 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

Unlike human piety and religion, His Good News meets us wherever we are, and requires only our faith and obedience as we begin walking the road to Life with Him. 

This week I reread the strange account of Zacchaeus who climbed a tree (Luke 19:1-10) to see Jesus over the crowds. You’ll remember that this guy was not someone you would want to be friends with, or even have as a neighbor. He was a corrupt and greedy tax official, despised as an immoral sell-out. Yet, he was favored by our Lord.

“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:5

Really? Of all the good, God-fearing people in Jericho, Jesus picks this nasty, sinful traitor to honor! And so, off the two of them go, while all the by-standers gossip and judge and shake their heads. But inside his ungodly house that day, the presence and grace of Jesus changes Zacchaeus and his family forever! Once again, God’s unbelievable kindness leads to unbelievable repentance, as it so often does. A complete turnaround story with very obvious, visible ramifications—Zacchaeus gives half of all that he owns to the poor, and vows to repay all those he cheated with four times what he swindled from them!

“Today, salvation has come to this house…”   v. 9

Yes, religion favors and honors the good, respectable people—but Jesus favors and honors all people. Do we? 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son... John 3:16

Here, in the years since 2020, we are all mission-carriers alongside Jesus within a disrupted, chaotic, despairing society. Like Zacchaeus, “sinners” around us are climbing all kinds of figurative trees just to get a glimpse of truth or a glimmer of hope. They need someone to really see them, to reach out to them, and to show them unusual kindness despite who they are, what they look like or what they do. They need the presence and grace of Jesus to visit with them—the same presence and grace we have dwelling inside each of us. What a challenge to our religious selves, who would often much rather join the crowd pointing fingers and shaking heads at these “sinners,” than reach out to them.

Each one of us gets to become Messiah’s life-changing hands, feet and voice to the humanity all around us—if we are brave enough to follow His unconventional example and to submit to His daily leading.  

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…  

Whose salvation story are we willing to become part of? 


Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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