Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-10 ( the voice )
Jesus enters Jericho and seems only to be passing through. 2 Living in Jericho is a man named Zaccheus. He’s the head tax collector and is very rich. 3 He is also very short. He wants to see Jesus as He passes through the center of town, but he can’t get a glimpse because the crowd blocks his view. 4 So he runs ahead of the crowd and climbs up into a sycamore tree so he can see Jesus when He passes beneath him. 5 Jesus comes along and looks up into the tree[, and there He sees Zaccheus].Jesus: Zaccheus, hurry down from that tree because I need to stay at your house tonight. 6 Zaccheus scrambles down and joyfully brings Jesus back to his house. 7 Now the crowd sees this, and they’re upset. Crowd(grumbling): Jesus has become the houseguest of this fellow who is a notorious sinner. Zaccheus:8 Lord, I am giving half of my goods to the poor, and whomever I have cheated I will pay back four times what I took. Jesus:9 Today liberation has come to this house, since even Zaccheus is living as a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to liberate the lost.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard or read the above story in the last 30 years. Let’s just say I was pretty confident that I knew all there needed to be known about Zacchaeus. Yet, as I sat in my car reading it yesterday the Lord showed me once again that I still have a lot to learn.
1. He was notorious: He was wealthy and successful at being corrupt. His reputation definitely preceded him.
2. He was short: He was so short that when the crowd stood around Jesus he couldn’t see anything. But he was crafty and climbed a tree.
3. People despised him: Tax collectors during that time served the Romans and oppressed the Jews. He was the chief tax collector so I think it would be safe to say that he was no one’s favorite.
1. Jesus knew his name: Jesus understood notoriety but it surprised me that He called him by his name. It made me wonder if Jesus knew him prior to this incident or if Zacchaeus was just that epic of a sinner that everyone knew of him. But as I searched to find the answers to my questions what I found surprised me. See, what I didn’t know before today was that the name Zacchaeus means clean, and pure. It’s not important whether Jesus knew him, what’s important is Jesus knew who he truly was. He saw His potential and he called it out.
2. Jesus found him: He was so short he had to climb a tree yet Jesus walked by and found him there. I am sorry, let me recap that Jesus found him in the tree! ( *Awkward moment: Grown man in a tree! ) No matter how funny that picture seems the truth is sometimes in life we are going to have work hard to get to a place where we can truly see Jesus — You know, like truly see him past the crowds, and noise and culture of this life. But aren’t you thankful that once we move past the crowds, Jesus find us in the awkwardness and uncomfortable places and calls us by name?!
3. Jesus stayed in his house: It says that, Jesus enters Jericho and seems only to be passing through, which leads me to believe that his encounter with this Zacchaeus moves him to want to stay. How awesome is that? Despite the crowds response, Jesus went to this man’s home and his life was forever impacted.
I don’t know where you are in your life. I am not sure what you are having to fight through to catch a glimpse of Jesus. You might be in a place where you need to find a tree and attempt a Zaachaeus. But wherever you are, trust that He knows you, He will find you where you are at, and His desire for you is to give you hope and a future.
…For the Son of Man came to seek and to liberate the lost.
Happy Friday, xo Chari