How many wealthy people do you know who would be so anxious to see a religious leader that they would shimmy up a tree to see him? Such was the power of Jesus’ message that even those of the highest status would do just about anything to encounter him. We are able to encounter him every day, yet we often do not look for him. Why not?
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
Perhaps we do not seek Jesus because we believe that we are already righteous. Maybe our lives are too busy and we think that we can’t spare the time to listen to the Lord. Or maybe we don’t want to seem foolish or pushy with our friends and family. Don’t we all sometimes think that our safe and acceptable watered-down faith is all we need?
After all, who wants to embarrass themselves by shimmying up a tree?