No. 59: be zacchaeus

One of my favorite Bible stories is a story about a man named Zacchaeus. He was a rich man, a tax collector that lived in Jericho. One day, Jesus walked through town with His disciples. Zaccheaeus wanted to get a glimpse of the Messiah everyone was talking about, but he was too short (I feel that one). He climbed a sycamore-fig tree to try to get a better look. Jesus walked underneath the treee, looked up and said “Zacchaeus! Come down, I’m coming to visit your house today!” Zacchaeus climbed down the tree and “welcomed Him gladly.” (Luke 19:6) Everyone looked around and said “Look, He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

I used to hear this story as a baby when we’d sing “Zaccheaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he…”. That was as much as I’d ever really heard about him. That and in the corny 1970’s TBN movie “Jesus”. I’ve come to love two different parts of this story especially.

The first part I love so much is that Zacchaeus was so excited to see Jesus that he found a way to see him. He was short and couldn’t see above the heads of those in the crowd. He climbed up a tree to get a GLIMPSE of Jesus. Not a conversation or a blessing or a hug. He just wanted to lay eyes on the man that claimed to save. Why aren’t we that excited about Jesus? Do we climb trees and invite Him into our homes for dinner?

The second part of the story that I love is in verse 7. “All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Zacchaeus was wealthy, but that’s not what Jesus cared about. That’s not why He invited Himself into Zacchaeus’s house. He wanted a meal with him and to be friends and talk with him. We are guests in Heaven, heirs to the throne of the Father but He was guest in the house of a sinner. It’s talked about how humble Jesus was but here’s another example of that. Jesus could’ve only made company with kings and emperors, but He made a conscious decision to dine with us. He invites Himself into the house of sinners because He loves us. Our sin doesn’t scare Him away.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

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