The Holiest People I’ve Ever Met
Nov 22, 2016 2467
What’s your picture of what a holy person looks like? Now let me shatter it. You see, I’ve met some holy people in my time, and you know what? The holiest people I’ve ever met have always been the greatest sinners!
Does that shock you? It should! Grace should always be shocking.
Back in Jesus’ day, the Lord kept on shocking people. You see, everyone thought that the holy people were the holy people, and the sinners were the sinners. There was a clear line of separation between them. They didn’t associate together.
In the city of Jericho, Zacchaeus was considered the greatest sinner of all. Not only was he a thief and an extortionist, but he was a traitor to his nation and to his God, and that’s why he had been cursed by being short. He didn’t have friends, so he never had people over at his place.
But Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for dinner (Luke 19:5), and when the “holy” people saw it, they all complained, saying
He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner (v.7, NASB).
Here’s the thing, when you’re with Jesus, he doesn’t see you as a great sinner, but as the holiest person in the world. When Jesus stepped into Zacchaeus’ home and into his life something incredible happened, because the presence of Jesus is the greatest saving and sanctifying influence in the universe.
In verse 9, Jesus told Zacchaeus that he was saved. In effect, you can imagine Jesus looking around and saying, “What? Where? There’s no sinner here! Only my friend Lazarus, and he’s totally holy.” The people must have scratched their heads and said to each other, “How can that be? We all know that he’s the greatest sinner!”
Maybe, just maybe… some of the holiest people aren’t the ones sitting in their pews behind church walls.
It’s true throughout the Bible story as well, that the holiest people were the greatest sinners. Moses was called the friend of God and God said that he spoke with him face to face. Of David, God said that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and that he never did anything wrong (1 Kings 15:5). They sound like maxed out on holiness to me! Yet both Moses and David were murderers. However, they were forgiven and transformed murderers, and that’s what made the difference.
Paul understood that the holiest people are the greatest sinners. That’s why he called himself the greatest sinner of all (1 Tim 1:15). He did it, not to magnify sin, but to exalt the grace of Jesus Christ. Of course, we don’t become a great sinner so that we may become holy; that’s ridiculous. Instead, we acknowledge our great sinfulness in order that through faith we may be accounted righteous in Christ’s holiness.
Maybe, just maybe… some of the holiest people aren’t the ones sitting in their pews behind church walls. Maybe we should be doing what Jesus did, and that’s to go out and look for out the greatest sinners. Maybe we need to start looking at people through the eyes of Christ, and start seeing their potential for the Kingdom. – Eliezer Gonzalez