“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.” (Luke 19:1-6)
This is one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. It teaches us that Jesus cares about every one of us and no one is ever overlooked. In a day where many people feel they are just one more face in the crowd, we need to be reminded that whatever tree we are in, Jesus knows. There is no reason for any of us to think, even for a moment, Jesus is more concerned about the number in the crowd, than the person in the seat. He is not nor has He ever been a spiritual entertainer. He is the Great Physician, who still makes house calls on a daily, no moment by moment, basis. In fact, He wants to connect with you today, even if you’re not sick!
Just like Zacchaeus, we all have reasons why we think Jesus would ignore us and walk on by. Maybe we have allowed our past actions to continue to condemn us, so we stand along the side of the road as the crowd passes by. Some of us are so ashamed of our past, we feel uncomfortable even attending a church. The shame is so powerful in our lives that it feels like a smothering blanket. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and by doing so, was considered a traitor to his people, who were being oppressed by the Roman occupation. Zacchaeus felt alone and the only friends he probably had were those in his same, disdained vocation. He felt like an outsider, totally unacceptable…and probably had stopped even worrying about what “they” felt about him…until he did again.
But today was different. Jesus was coming through town and Zacchaeus just wanted to get a glimpse of what He looked like. In fact, he got more than he expected that day. Jesus stopped, called him by name and invited himself to dinner. Interesting thought here: how did Jesus know his name? He didn’t live in Jericho. Well, Jesus is God and knows everything about us, not just our names. Today, Jesus has stopped at your front door, and is looking at you looking at Him. Hear Him call your name and invite Himself in. Be a Zacchaeus right now and welcome Him gladly. He will change your life, your perspective and your future, beginning right now, if you will allow Him in.