Jesus came to the earth to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). These are individuals who God chooses (John 15:16) and adopts into His family, making them His sons and brothers of Jesus (Romans 8:14,15; Ephesians 1:5).
Nothing could be more personal than the conversion of Zacchaeus, who was ‘a chief tax collector (Luke 19:1-9)’. He had a desire to see Jesus as He was passing through Jericho, but because he was ‘of short stature’ he was unable to see Him on account of the crowd. So he climbed a sycamore tree to get a good view of Him. Jesus saw him and told him to come down quickly because He had to stay at his house.
None of this was by coincidence, as it had been foreordained from before time (1 Peter 4:20). Nevertheless, Zachaeus had a genuine desire to see Jesus, and having seen Him he repented and welcomed Him into his home. More importantly Zachaeus welcomed Him into his heart – into his inner being. He was totally transformed (2 Corinthians 5:17). No longer did he want to steal from the poor, but he wanted to restore ‘fourfold’ all he had stolen.
‘And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:9, 10).”’
Every conversion is a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. He visits them, speaks to them and they are convicted of their sin and of the righteousness of Jesus and of His judgment upon, ‘the ruler of this world’ i.e., satan (John 16:8-11).
The conversion of Saul [Paul the Apostle] was startling, unexpected and illustrative (Acts 22:6-16). It was illustrative because, as he was on the road to Damascus a great light from heaven shone around him and Jesus spoke to him personally. He said, ‘“I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Paul replied, ‘“What shall I do, Lord?” Jesus said he was to go to Damascus where he would be,‘“told all things which are appointed for you to do (v 10).’” The people accompanying Paul saw the light, but they did not hear Jesus. His revelation of Himself was not for them, but specifically for Paul (Acts 22:14). Jesus said of Himself He was the light of the world (John 8:12), and at Paul’s conversion He was that very Light. Paul was initially blinded by the Light, but his spiritual eyes were opened by the Light, and his physical sight was later restored (Acts 22:13).
Jesus doesn’t just meet people; He involves Himself with them. He wants them to love Him as He loves them (John 14:21; 16:27; 21:15-17). He builds relationships with them and He expects them to remain loyal to Him, as He is faithful to them (John 14:23). He never leaves them (Hebrews 13:5), and forever He is their Friend (John 15:15). He gave Himself for them so that they may live with Him and His Father in their kingdom (John 17:24) in this present age and in the life to come.
Jesus is personal by having a relationship with every believer (1 John 2:3-5), and He is collectively personal with His Church (1 Peter 2:4, 5, 9), in that He is the Groom and the Church is His Bride. At His coming again, He will be joined to the Bride and He will present her perfect before the Father (Ephesians 5:25), having been washed clean in His blood (Revelation 1:5). They will have an everlasting relationship when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to the New earth (Revelation 21:2, 9).