I had heard this story about Zaccheus several times but at Thursday’s fellowship it took on a deeper meaning. The Word of God is truly alive and active! The passage that was shared was Luke 19:1-11 and the contributions made brought out several things which we need to learn from the actions of this tax collector. The following was shared:
VERSE 3 “He wanted to see what Jesus was like, but he was a short man and could not see him because of the crowd.”
- This yearning for Jesus by Zaccheus was desperate. He wanted to SEE Jesus. How do we use our own spiritual eyes to see God? Do we see Him at all? What prevents us from seeing Jesus and encountering him? What things represent the “crowd” in our lives that serve as distractions which prevent us from using our inner mind and spiritual eyes to see what we should.
VERSE 4 ” So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree…”
- Zaccheus did not stroll to meet Jesus – he ran. His yearning propelled him to run and climb up a sycamore tree. Why a sycamore tree? The bark of a sycamore tree is peculiar since it grows its trunk by stretching, splitting and infilling. It is as if this tree mirrors what is required of us to encounter Jesus as Zaccheus did. We must be stretched and go the extra mile. We must split from our past and leave it behind to be the new person and only then can we experience the infilling which Jesus brings. The sycamore tree is unique since the process of stretching, splitting and infilling is more obvious in this tree which causes the bark to flake off in great irregular masses. It is not surprising that Zaccheus chose to climb a tree which process of growth mirrors what is required of Zaccheus and what happens to him – his old self represented by a bark, flakes off in great masses and give rise to a new person/ creation.
- It is also worthy to note that a sycamore tree has very few branches and grows to massive proportions with the largest being 51 meters tall and 4meters wide. Zaccheus went the extra mile to find the largest tree he could find so that he would be able to see Jesus. It did not matter that it would be difficult to climb since it was flaky and had no branches – he was seeking Jesus without restraints. Do we do that?
VERSE 5 “When Jesus came to the place he looked up and said to him Zaccheus, Zaccheus come down quickly for I must stay at your house today.”
- We have been called just as Zaccheus was. Jesus responded to Zaccheus’ yearning for him and met Zaccheus at his place of desire to call him. Jesus said that he MUST stay at Zaccheus house. It was an urgent call by Jesus. He had to honor Zaccheus yearning for Him. Jesus called Zaccheus and insisted that He would stay at Zaccheus’ home. Zaccheus body represents God’s temple; his abode; his home. How have we answered Jesus’ call? How have we made our bodies God’s home?
Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary. Pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sacrifice for you.
VERSE 6 “So Zaccheus climbed down and received him joyfully.”
- Zaccheus was a humble man, for although he was rich, he ran to climb a tree to see Jesus and came down as soon as He was called to let Jesus in his temple. He let go of all barriers to encounter Jesus. How humble are we when Jesus calls us? Do we let go off all barriers and go to all extent to encounter Jesus?
- Zaccheus felt a joy when he received Jesus. How do we feel when we encounter Jesus? Is it a mundane experience? Is prayer a ritual? We need to climb down and be humble to receive Jesus like Zaccheus did and was. It is only when we do this, that we can experience the joy of the Lord.
VERSE 7 “All the people who saw it began to grumble…”
- We are one body so we should not look down on others or underestimate their worth
- Jesus did not give up on Zaccheus and did not judge him so we too must be tolerant with one another
- We should be careful not to trample over those who are not as spiritually sound as us or who are sinners because the grace of God upon such people may be more than God’s grace upon you since Jesus came for the lost sheep and is focused on them
- We must be careful of distractions which was seen in the murmuring of others since that may not be where God is focused
VERSE 8 “…Half of what I own, Lord, I will give to the poor…”
- How contrite are we when we repent? Are we like David in Psalm 51?
- How important is restitution in our journey? Zaccheus repented and DID SOMETHING to make up for his sin. Do we just say sorry and ignore the words which require us to “work out our salvation.”
VERSE 9-10 “...Salvation has come to this house…The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
- By Jesus granting Zaccheus salvation, he rewards Zaccheus for going the extra mile and surmounting all obstacles such as physical restrictions such as being short and social pressures such as pride due to his riches. These constraints didnt stop him, as he pursued Jesus. Do we pursue Jesus like Zaccheus? When we do, rest assured that God’s salvation will abide in our home and heart.
- Jesus saved Zaccheus because Zaccheus was able to identify his “NOW MOMENT” and seized the opportunity of grace. There is a time when the period of grace elapses and we are left to struggle on our journey to salvation. Zaccheus seized the moment of God’s grace in his passing by and was rewarded with Gods salvation.
Lord. we thank you for giving us your grace to spur us on. May we always pursue you with the passion of Zaccheus and encounter you afresh each day with excitement, as we welcome you into our hearts bringing us your joy. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.