Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC

Luke 19:1-5
19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”

Do you find yourself longing to draw closer to Jesus?  Does your heart crave a better view today?  Seasons and circumstances can leave us feeling out of touch from time to time. Sin can isolate.  Busyness can complicate.  Rut can stagnate.  Have you found yourself there before?  I have, and it can leave us feeling like we are only watching Jesus from a distance rather than actively walking on the ground with him.  The account of Zacchaeus reminds us that Jesus sees us and calls us by name. He rescues us from our distant places. 

As a wealthy tax collector, Zacchaeus was notorious for his unfair practices and was unwelcome by most in the community.  Perhaps he wondered if Jesus would turn away as well. Yet as the crowd grew, he couldn’t help but watch.  There was something different about this man Jesus! 

In order to see over the much taller crowd, he ran ahead and climbed up a tree.  Sycamore-fig trees were plentiful and ordinary in the region (1 Kings 10:27), but this simple tree top is right where this sinner met Jesus.  The crowd bustled along, but as Jesus walked by, he looked up and called Zacchaeus by name.  Isn’t that just like our Lord, to meet us in the ordinary?  To seek and love the least of these?  To meet us in our mess?

Luke 19:6 tells us what happened next. So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully” (Luke 19:6).  May this be our response when Jesus calls our name!

In the midst of the finger pointing and condemning voices that surrounded him, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord with a repentant heart and traded the weight of his sin for eternal riches in Christ (Luke 19:7-9).  His life was forever changed that day.  Such love and grace in that while we are still sitting in our trees God calls to us for I must stay at your house today.”  Such love and grace that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

Maybe you have a personal relationship with Jesus already, but the hustle and bustle of life has gotten in the way.  Maybe the Holy Spirit has been nudging your heart or revealed an area of sin that needs repentance.  Whatever rough bark or teetering limb we are clinging to today, it’s time to climb down and safely land at the feet of Jesus.  Joy awaits us in the Lord’s fellowship.  For a jumpstart, try setting a timer for 5 minutes today and just sit and talk with the Lord.  Reread these 5 verses about Zacchaeus and insert your name and your circumstances into the passage instead. Then read and meditate on all of Luke 19:1-9.  Respond to Jesus and rest in his love and grace.  

Father God, thank you for your patient, unending love for me.  Search my heart and show me areas that are keeping me away from fellowship with you.  Call me out of any attitude or action that keeps me from walking in step with you Jesus.  Guide my feet back to yours.  In Jesus Name, Amen.     

Galatians 3:13-  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”