Since my days in Sunday school, I have always remembered this story of Zacchaeus, the short man who climbed a tree in order to see Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). I don’t think he had any idea that Jesus would want to visit him that day. He probably didn’t even know that Jesus would see him on the tree, I think he was just interested to see what was happening. Being a tax collector would have made him very unpopular with his townsmen. In fact, when Jesus called him down they protested that Jesus was going into a sinner’s house!
Zacchaeus was short in stature. People recognized him by his size. Maybe you know some people who are identified by a physical characteristic. We make judgments about people because they’re tall, pretty, bald, ugly, fat, rich, poor or they have red or blonde hair. The sad reality in our current culture is that we often assign value to a person based on physical appearance.
But Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. Jesus illustrated how we should relate to people and how God relates to us. God knows our name. The Bible says (Numbers 6:25) that God desires His face to shine upon you. A shining face is a beautiful description of someone who is happy to see you.
Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. He made eye contact, and spoke to him face to face. Jesus communicated to Zacchaeus that He was glad to see him. While others saw just a tax collector, Jesus saw the man behind the position, and sought to build a relationship with him by going to Zacchaeus’ house for dinner.
Zacchaeus doesn’t appear to have any observable need, but he’s curious about Jesus. Why? The Bible says God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:10). God has placed in the soul of every human being a desire to connect to Him. Some fight it, ignore it, and deny it, but the Scripture is clear. Human beings are spiritual beings and no amount of worldly success or possessions can satisfy the deepest longing of the human soul, to know God.
Zacchaeus is on a journey of transformation. A person’s destiny is more than an end result or achieving a goal. Destiny is the driving force which shapes and defines a person’s life. The story of Zacchaeus concludes with his life being very different after meeting Jesus.
Jesus makes a bold declaration to Zacchaeus, “Salvation has come to your house!” He’s saved! He is born again! But we must be careful to understand that Zacchaeus didn’t buy his salvation by giving all that money to the poor. His actions just revealed how his life had been transformed by an encounter with Jesus. After experiencing the love of Christ, he became more concerned about others than spending money on his own selfish desires. Oh that we would have an encounter with the Saviour daily!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to desire that deep encounter with You daily, so I would come out of hiding and let You come into my house. Be Lord of every area of my life. I chose to let go of things that stop me from having a deep personal relationship with You. Amen.
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