ODJ: Proof of Life

Families of kidnap victims often refuse to pay ransom without “proof of life”, evidence such as a phone call or video that shows their loved one is well. True believers in Jesus reveal a different kind of ‘proof of life’—evidence of lives transformed by their new life in Christ.

Zacchaeus exhibited proof of new life after encountering Jesus. He was “the chief tax collector in the region”. That meant he took money from his countrymen, skimmed a lot off the top and sent the rest on to Rome. He “had become very rich”, which meant he was good at his job (Luke 19:2). He was despised, but not by Jesus who “came to seek and save those who are lost” (v.10). Jesus came for people just like Zacchaeus; so when He saw him in the branches above, He invited Himself over for dinner (v.5).

The crowd grumbled that Zacchaeus was “a notorious sinner,” and he didn’t disagree (v.7). “Sinner” was who he was, but it wouldn’t define him now. Zacchaeus demonstrated true repentance when he promised to give half his wealth to the poor and pay back four times whatever he had “cheated people on their taxes” (v.8). Jesus saw the tax collector’s contrite heart and announced, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham” (v.9).

We’re saved when we repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. One proof of repentance is restitution: Do we right our wrongs when possible? A proof of faith is sacrifice: Does our trust in Jesus inspire us to serve others?

Jesus accepts us just as we are, but He loves us too much to allow us to stay that way. His loving transformation may be a long process, but every step forward is your proof of life.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day plan: John 4:1-42