Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
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.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
I am currently reading a book entitled Replenish by Lance Witt, and at one point in the book Pastor Lance talks about Christ’s supernatural ability to see the unseen ministry needs around Him. He writes,
“Many of the stories from the Gospels are not about Jesus’ encounters with the crowds. They are about Him paying attention to an individual….Jesus had a knack for noticing people everyone else seemed to ignore…The speed of our lives causes us to miss many people God wants us to notice”
(Replenish, Lance Wiitt, pgs. 168-169)
Wow! That statement convicts the fire out of me. Am I too busy to notice the people the Lord wants me to notice?
One such story of Christ’s ability to see the unseen is the story of His encounter with Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a scoundrel. He was a Jewish tax collector, a traitor of traitors who not only supported the Romans over the Hebrews but stole from his countrymen to boot. He got filthy rich off the backs of his own people. He was the worst of the worst and the lowest of the low. He was white collar trash to the Hebrew people.
However, God the Father was at work in his heart. He was broken and ashamed internally for the things he had done, and then he heard about this man named Jesus who was coming to town. He heard about the miracles and the words he taught and maybe even that one of Jesus’ own disciples was a transformed tax collector, and Zacchaeus thought to himself, “This man can change everything in my life.”
Finally the day comes when Jesus arrives in town, the day Zacchaeus has been waiting eagerly for. He goes out to see the Lord only to be pushed away by the crowd. Surely this was intentional because of the sinful life he had led, but neither the crowd’s disdain nor Zacchaeus’ shame could keep him from getting a glimpse of the Messiah. He climbs a sycamore tree and waits, just hoping somehow this Jesus could change his life. Then, all of a sudden, although bombarded by the crowds, Jesus looks up and sees Zacchaeus. To the utter amazement (and disgust I might add) of the crowd, Jesus calls Zacchaeus down from the tree and tells Zacchaeus to go home and get the house ready because He’s coming over. That’s all Zacchaeus needed to hear. It’s amazing how just one word from Jesus can transform a life of sin. Despite the jeering of the crowd, Jesus connects with Zacchaeus and he is immediately changed, so much so that he is prepared to give half of his hard earned money to the poor and repay those he has stolen from fourfold.
Jesus was just “passing through,” but it’s often those times that we’re just passing through that the Spirit of God wants to pass by. Everyday we see people at work, at the store, at school, at the ballfield, at the gas station, and many other places in the community, and more often than not we pass right by without even considering their needs. We are so busy with our own agendas that we fail to see those like Zaccheus in the trees right around us.
Today, your neighbor might be the one perched atop the sycamore looking for Christ. Right now, it might be your son or daughter that needs a loving word from the Lord. Maybe it’s your friend or co-worker who has climbed the tree searching for grace. As you and I are passing through life will we notice those looking for Jesus? Will we slow down enough to meet their needs? Will we stop and dine with them so they can hear the message of the gospel and be saved? Let’s pay closer attention. Let’s slow down. Let’s see the unseen.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, thank you for seeing me in my greatest time of need and bringing salvation into my life. I am forever grateful Lord. Help me see the unseen people around me everyday, those people in whom you’re at work but who the world may not notice or care about. You have called me to be Your light in the darkness, so please help me to do that today Lord. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSES OF THE WEEK:
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.