"Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." (Luke 19:5)

This event illustrates the mercy, wisdom, and vision of Jesus, as he traveled the countryside preaching love of God. Here is the event, including this verse, from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Therein was a man there named Zaccheus. He was the chief tax collector and he was wealthy. He wanted to see Jesus but was unable, due to the crowd – and because he was very small. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus – as he was traveling the path nearby. When Jesus reached that spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, because today I have to stay at your house.” So he hurried down and welcomed him with joy. When the people saw this, they began complaining, saying “He’s gone to be the guest of a man who is a materialist.” (Luke 19:1-7)

What does this indicate about Jesus?

We can see here that Jesus is offering the mercy of the Supreme Being to anyone and everyone who wants to receive it. It is not as if Jesus eliminated those who were wealthy, or those who were of a different race or a different sect. He saw the spirit-person within, and whether they were eager to return to our relationship with the Supreme Being.

This is our primary choice in life. If we boiled down all of the choices and all of the challenges that put us to the test, we find that it boils down to this one choice:

Do we want to return to our loving service relationship with God or not?

All of our choices ultimately add up to this one. Some of our choices relate to honesty, or virtue, or following instructions someone has given us or following our conscience. Sometimes we are faced with decisions that relate to our values.

While some of these choices may seem mundane, as we add them up over a lifetime we accumulate choices that essentially yield the grand choice: Whether we want to return to God or not.

Illustrating this, we find that Zacchaeus decided to climb a tree so he could observe Jesus. He was a short man so this was his best means to have a glimpse of God's representative.

Climbing the tree required a number of decisions. These included determining where Jesus might walk. It also required finding the right tree to climb. A short man would have needed a tree with some low-hanging limbs. Then, of course, he had to get up there in time for Jesus to pass by.

All of these decisions may seem mundane when looked at independently. But together they formulated a grand choice, also made by Zacchaeus: He wanted to get closer to God, and God's representative.

Jesus, of course, understood this. As God's representative and loving servant, Jesus enjoys an intimate relationship with God. And because God sees our hearts, He indicated to Jesus to stay at Zacchaeus' house.

Yes, when someone makes the choice to return to Him, the Supreme Being offers guidance. This includes the Supreme Being arranging contact with His representative.

Jesus stated this clearly:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them..." (John 6:44)

Is this how God allows us to return to Him?

This illustrates the relationship existing between God and His representative, and those who wish to return to Him. He creates the opportunity: God sends His representative. Then He arranges for those who want to return to Him to meet His representative and take guidance from him. Jesus clarified this relationship elsewhere:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given me, but raise them up at the last day." (John 6:38-39)
Thus we can understand that not only does Jesus see his role in relation to serving and pleasing the Supreme Being - but he understands that his guidance is critical for the future of those who have accepted that guidance.

But what about "raising them up at the last day"? Some preach about some time in the near or distant future when Jesus will come back and round up everyone at the same time. As if everyone who has died up until that point has to wait around in some limbo state for him to come and get them. Does this make any sense?

What is the 'last day'?

In the NIV translation of John 6:38-39, "the last day" comes from the Greek words ἔσχατος (eschatos) and ἡμέρα (hēmera). The former means, "extreme - last in time or in place" while the latter means "the day, used of the natural day" and "used of time in general, i.e. the days of his life."

When used together, this quite clearly indicates that Jesus is speaking of one's last day of his life - which is the time of death - as indicated in the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"For I have descended from the spiritual realm not to please myself but to please Him who sent me. And what pleases Him who sent me is that I shall lose none of those He has entrusted to me, but raise them up at the time of death." (John 6:38-39)
What kind of "raising up" will Jesus be doing then? Some preach that Jesus is speaking of raising up their bodies into heaven.

Wait a second. It has been nearly 2,000 years since Jesus said this. That would mean that all those dead bodies of followers of Jesus that have died are in advanced stages of decomposition. Some have completely decomposed by now - even their bones turning to dust.

So how would he be "raising up" their bodies if they have decomposed?

This philosophy simply makes no sense.

Jesus was not preaching a doctrine that didn't make sense. This notion that the physical body rises up to heaven is a nonsensical notion invented by those who did not carefully learn Jesus' teachings regarding our composition as spirit - not matter:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matt. 10:28)
"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41 and Mark 14:38)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. (Matt. 6:25 and Luke 12:22)
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life." (John 6:63)
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:6)
These indicate clearly that Jesus taught that our composition is spirit, not matter. As such, when we die, our spirit-person leaves the physical body. It rises up, out of the body.

Does this happen with clinical death?

The reality that we leave our bodies at the time of death has been proven over and over in clinical death cases. Clinical death cases - also called near-death experiences - invariably detail a person experiencing themself rising up from their body and looking down upon it from the ceiling. They have left their physical body. They have risen up out of the body. How else could they look down upon it?

There have been tens of thousands of scientifically verified clinical death cases documented over the past few decades. now that medicine has developed so many procedures to revive the body, there are more and more of these cases.

With this has come a number of medical doctor researchers such as Dr. Raymond Moody and Dr. Kenneth Ring, who tracked hundreds of cases. Other researchers such as Dr. Jeffrey Long and Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, have followed thousands of near-death experiences.

The conclusion of all this research is that it is obvious that we live on after the body dies. Clinical death takes place when the physical body is clinically dead. Yet when that clinically dead body is brought back to life, the person inside that body explains they continued to live, and rose up out of the body at the time of death.

What about some of the popular 'I went to heaven' experiences?

There are also numerous popularized experiences where the person who clinically died actually went to heaven. Is this true? Not necessarily. Some of these are questionable.

For example, one popular story put out by a pastor that was involved in an auto accident says that he went to heaven. Yet when he recalls going to "heaven" he doesn't recall seeing Jesus or God. He only recalls seeing a bunch of old relatives and a few other people he knew whose bodies had died. They were all standing there in the clouds - in suits and ties - looking just like their bodies looked before they died. He recalls seeing his grandparents too - but in their suits and ties and with gray hair and all - just as their old pictures looked.

Was this man really seeing the heaven Jesus talked about? If he was in heaven why didn't he see the Supreme Being? Why didn't he at least see Jesus?

There are many possible explanations, including the problem of this man trying to physically describe an experience that was otherworldly. Regression hypnosis also has established that once out of the body we will see those in our spirit group who have incarnated with us. Although not in the physical body once worn, there is still a recollection of that body as one recalls the experience.

This can be the case for those who have otherwise had a clinical death experience and seen family members of their body. 

We typically incarnate with a close group that is more or less evolving together. Members of the group will become our family members. One might be our brother in one life and our spouse in the next. The roles will change according to the lessons to be learned and experiences to be grown from.

The definitive science from those who have experienced clinical death is that we live on after the body physically dies. We know from these cases that the person can be separated from the physical body and the body is declared dead.

Many imagine heaven as this place where all the body's relatives meet up again - whether in their suits and ties like in church or in white robes sitting on the clouds playing harps. In both of these scenarios, they imagine everyone in their old physical bodies - as if their bodies don't decompose after burial.

Jesus specifically criticized this imaginary view of heaven. When some Sadducees came and asked him about a woman who married seven brothers, they wanted to know whose wife she would be in heaven:
"Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" Jesus replied, "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:28-36)
Thus we find that Jesus clearly reveals that the family and relatives of the physical body are not relevant in the spiritual realm. The woman in the story would no longer be married to any of the brothers because in order to go to heaven, she would have to leave her physical body behind.

Because the family relationships of the physical world are based upon this physical body - when we leave this physical body we leave those relationships. Yes, we may still have close relationships with those who incarnated with us into bodies of family members. But those relationships are not the same as the family relationships of the body.

In the spiritual realm, our family is the family of God. We are all His children. Jesus confirms this as he instructs his students to transcend the family of the physical body:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
"Truly I tell you," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life." (Mark 10:29-30) 
Why does Jesus want his followers to reject their families? Because the physical body is a temporary vehicle - that we leave behind at the time of death. We are composed of spirit - not the physical body. For this reason, the forms and names of the physical body are not important to our choice of whether we return to our relationship with God. And identifying with the family of the physical body can a hindrance to ones spiritual progress, as Jesus taught.

Jesus further clarified the identity of his (and our) real family:
"My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice." (Luke 8:21)
This is God's spiritual family. This family exists in both the spiritual realm and the physical world. Those who live to please the Supreme Being are part of God's family, whether they have a physical body in the physical world or they reside in the spiritual realm - where God's personal presence is seen everywhere.