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Just a Coincidence?

Updated: Jun 23

Story by: Randy Grathen

God knows the end from the beginning...

He (Zacchaeus) ran ahead to a place where Jesus would come, and he climbed a sycamore tree so he could see him. When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down! I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus came down quickly and welcomed him gladly. Luke 19:1-6.

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Isaiah 46:10

God knew Zacchaeus was going to climb a tree to get a look at Jesus as he passed through Jericho. It got me thinking about all the "coincidences" that were necessary for that encounter to happen.

1. How far in the past was the tree planted so that it would be ready to support Zacchaeus when he climbed it?

2. Looking further back, Zacchaeus’ parents (presumably from Jericho) had to meet, get married and have their baby in time for Zacchaeus to grow up and become a tax collector.

3. If Zacchaeus “ran ahead to a place where Jesus would come,” how did he know which tree to run to?

4. Why did Jesus go to Jericho, and why did he pass by that particular tree?

A person could drive themselves crazy chasing these rabbits and so many more.

Were these just a bunch of coincidences that accidentally put Zacchaeus in that tree, or was it a divine appointment? Do we have free will, or is our entire life laid out for us from cradle to grave? Many believe that is the case, just as they believe we are predestined to be saved. Chosen before the beginning of time, while the rest of us, no matter what we do, and how we live our life will not enter into heaven. If you read Ephesians 1:5 you might think so.

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Ephesians 1:5 declares, “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

But if you read Ephesians 1:3-7 you get a different picture.

3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love. 5. he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

“He predestined, (appointed, decided, bound,) us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ…” We are adopted into the family when we accept the gift of salvation. We become His sons and daughters, Gods children. Our adoption into this family CANNOT be revoked.

I do not believe a loving God, who created humanity in His image would then show favoritism (a petty human trait) to a portion of his “children.” If our salvation was already assured, or not, no matter how we live our life, then He would not have had to send Jesus to die in our place to redeem us. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Sadly, after falling out of a high lift from 23’ up in 2002 (click here) I spent several days in intensive care then moved to a step-down unit. A week later a young lady came in and introduced herself as my physical therapist here to start my rehab. It was obvious only minutes after our first encounter that she was a Christian. We talked about how I could have died the day I fell and wanted to know if I was saved. I was. As we talked more, I learned she believed you could lose your salvation. What kind of cruel cosmic joke would that be? Never knowing from one day to the next if you were “in” or “out.” She believed for example, if you died with a swear word on your lips, like falling out of a lift and screaming shiiiiit, on the way down, one would land in hell instead of on a blacktop parking lot like I did. By the way, I didn’t swear. I didn’t have time.

It is no surprise that Satan will do everything he can to twist the truth. We know he wants to kill, steal, and destroy. We know he hates us. We know he wants us dead. What kind of joy could this young woman expect to get out of life if she was constantly fearful of making a sinful mistake, dying, and landing in hell.

4 Rejoice, in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! 5 Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. 6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7. Peace and joy, not fear and worry.

The apostle Paul wrote 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15. Does anyone believe Paul is sitting in hell right now?

Zacchaeus had a divine appointment orchestrated by God. I have had more than I can count or remember. You can call them coincidences if you want, but statistically most all would be impossible without a divine nudge in the right direction at just the right time.

What do you think?

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