Monday, September 4, 2017

Before Zacchaeus

Before Zacchaeus
September 4, 2017
Luke 19:4  "So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way."

The story of Zacchaeus has more to it than any song you might have learned when you were younger. The short of the story is that he was not a tall man, nor an extremely moral man. Zacchaeus was disliked by his peers, by the general public, and especially by the Jews. He was a tax collector and had become very rich at the expense of others, dishonest gain. Not a single detail about Zacchaeus matters when you realize he was just a human being, though, a sinner needing a Savior. Zacchaeus obviously knew something was different about the man named Jesus and his heart was not only curious but possibly desperate to have what Jesus offered. Just to get a glimpse of this man named Jesus, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree to see above the crowds.

Sycamore trees grow between 60 and 100 feet tall. They are big trees and some species can grow to a very old age. Sycamore trees live, on average 200-250 years. Some species of sycamore can live for more than 500 years. Something else unique about a sycamore tree is its bark. The bark of a sycamore tree is slippery. A friend of mine was telling me he likes to hunt and he put a tree stand in a sycamore tree one time. The tree stand fell down, sliding right down the sides of the trunk with him on it. He said you would not pick a sycamore tree unless you had no other option. It is not an ideal tree to climb. Zacchaeus must not have had any other option to see Jesus but that sycamore tree. He had to climb it. He had no other option because Jesus was passing by, it was that tree at that moment or possibly nothing else.  Zacchaeus had to work hard in order to see Jesus. He was desperate to see Jesus. And before Zacchaeus could climb that tree, someone had to plant it there. Zacchaeus could have been climbing a 200 year old tree. Before Zacchaeus, there was a tree.

Jesus prepared the way for that tree, a way for Zacchaeus to see Him. But just because Jesus prepared a way, in advance, Zacchaeus still had to want it badly enough to work for it. The Lord has always promised if you look for Him, if you seek for Him with all your heart, you will find Him. Zacchaeus was searching with all his heart and he found Jesus. The Lord has made a way for each and every one of us to see Him, to find Him. He prepared a way in advance, long ago, so you and I could be able to have a relationship with Him. Finding Him takes work, not because He is hidden, but because there are distractions obstructing your view of Him. Zacchaeus' view was hindered by the world; he had to rise above the obstacles to see Jesus clearly.

There are so many things trying to get in your way. There are distractions in your life that will try to keep you from Jesus. Your job is to rise above the crowds, the distractions, and search for Jesus, seek Him while He may be found. Jesus honored Zacchaeus because of his effort. Jesus knew Zacchaeus' heart was trying to find what Jesus had to offer. Despite the tax collector's storied past, Jesus was thrilled with the man's effort. He took great lengths to find Jesus, taking advantage of the opportunity that tree afforded him. What obstacles are in your way of finding and seeing Jesus? What efforts do you take to seek Him out?

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  1 Chronicles 21:24, Jer 29:12-14, Luke 19:1-10

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