Have you ever noticed how easy it is to go through a day while ignoring what is around you? We become so focused on a few things that we miss hundreds of other things going on. We live in our ME-centered world without noticing what’s happening to others. The everyday things of our busy-jammed-packed-lives make us comfortably numb to others around us.
Living for ME is the easy/comfortable way. Jesus shows us that there is another way to live. In Luke 19 we see Jesus is “passing through” Jericho on His way to Jerusalem to die on the cross. We are passing through life too. We pass through our life, school, work, fun, and everything else here on earth. Life is not permanent. You will spend more time on the other side of the tomb than this side, and what you do on this side matters forever.
Another observation from the text is that there were many people were “crowding around Jesus.” They were pressing in all around Him. They wanted a chance to see Him, meet Him, or talk with Him. The religious guru’s were out to get Him and fire questions at Him for He did miracles and said He was the Son of God. Just imagine the pressure Jesus was feeling! Do you ever feel like life is crowded? Or that you are passing through without a purpose?
HE SEES THE SEEK-HIM-MORE TREES [Luke 19:1-4]
In the middle of all the passing through and crowds we are introduced to a man named “Zacchaeus.” He was a hated man by the Jewish society. He was a tax collector for the Roman government (IRS). He got rich by ripping of people and making dishonest deals. Yet (like everyone else) He wanted to see Jesus. He had a problem. He was short. He had no vertical leap to see over the crowd, so he climbed a Sycamore tree. This was his one chance to intersect with Christ.
Do you know that you have Zaccheaus’ in your life? They are hanging around in Sycamore [Seek-Him-More] trees desperately wanting to see who Jesus is. As you are passing through your crowded life people are looking at your life, actions, words, and faith trying to see Jesus. The Zaccheaus’ want to see how you do business, spend your money, treat your family and friends, and handle difficult situations. Do people see Jesus when they look at your life? God places Seek-Him-More trees in your life because He wants us to help their lives intersect with Jesus.
HE KNOWS YOUR NAME [vs.5-6]
What does Jesus do? He call out to Zaccheaus by name. Jesus had never met Zaccheaus in person before [the only time in the NT this happens]. When you come to Jesus you are not just a person in the crowd. Have you ever been surprised to be known by somebody you thought didn’t know you? You might think you do not matter or that no one cares, but Jesus knows your name. Even if you have never met Him, He knows who you are. God seeks you out [Acts 17:27].
Jesus then invited Himself over for dinner. Imagine if Jesus invited Himself to your house for dinner. “Hey mom, guess who is coming for dinner tonight?” Zaccheaus is excited about the opportunity [cf. Rev.3:20]. This meal with Jesus changed His life forever. He did a 180-degree turn around; repaying everyone he ripped off and became an uncomfortable follower of Christ.
HE IGNORES THE COMPLAINTS [v.7]
So everything is cool, right? Not quite. All the people who saw this complained that Jesus was hanging out with a well-known sinner. “How could Jesus do this?” The Lazy-Boys of Jesus day were complaining about His ministry, agenda, and His purpose. They are complaining about the work of God in another person’s life. “How come God isn’t doing the same thing in my life?” Get your head out of your own butt and thank Him for what He is doing in the life of others. Complaints from others are good. It should alert you that you are doing what God wants you to do. Jesus didn’t pay any attention to the complaints; He just focuses in on Zach.
HE WANTS US TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET [vs.8-10]
Zach is coming out of closet about his faith in Christ. Salvation is a public thing. It is like saying that my marriage to Sarah is secret thing. That’s absurd! Yes, salvation is a personal decision, but it greatly affects your public persona. Zach took his faith to the street, to work, to His family. What we find out is that Zach’s family comes to Christ. This gives me hope for those who have unsaved family.
In middle school I was quite the loser. I didn’t get to see the light of day very much because I was in detention. My family and I started attending a church in town and I was making some friends there some of which went to my school. They didn’t talk to me much at school (at first) because I was the troublemaker. My teachers talked down to me as if I was never going to amount to anything. I remember getting suspended for stealing items from the Home Ec classroom. While doing my time (2-weeks), my Sunday School teacher from church, Mike, contacted me. He knew I was a See-Him-More tree distracted by the crowds and passing through life without a purpose. He challenged me to follow Christ. It wasn’t long after that I came to Christ.
Why are you here? What are you doing about it? Who is your Zacchaeus?