Lessons learned from a sycamore tree

Luke 19:2-4
2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.

That cannot have been a very dignified moment for Zacchaeus, the local tax collector. There he was, an officer for Imperial Rome, climbing up a tree like some common child to get a glimpse of someone famous passing by. But for Zacchaeus, dignity was less important than satisfying his curiosity. There are a few things we can learn from Zacchaeus today.

First, it is important to see that Zacchaeus actively SOUGHT OUT Jesus. He wanted to know more, wanted to see His face. Zacchaeus had a desire that overcame all his propriety and honor, forcing him to do something he might never have done for anyone else.

The next thing we can learn from Zacchaeus is that he PREPARED to meet Jesus. Rather than waiting for Jesus to seek him, Zacchaeus got to where he knew Jesus would be and put himself in a position to see Him. Zacchaeus found a way past the crowds so that he was in the right place at the right time to see the Savior with his own eyes, not relying on the stories told by others.

And that brings us to our third point: Zacchaeus abandoned his station in life and HUMBLED himself to learn about the Lord. I imagine more than a few people jeered at Zacchaeus up in that tree, teasing him for his shortness. Yet Zacchaeus did not climb down until he had been seen by the One who really mattered: Jesus. People whose lives had been ruined by the money-grubbing little man were surprised to see him climbing a tree, and doubly surprised to see the Teacher honor him by asking him to come down.

Are you in a position today to see the Savior firsthand? Have you actively sought Him out, prepared yourself, gone out of your way to find Him? Or are we waiting for HIM to come to YOU? Have you humbled yourself in a way that will surprise others? By climbing that tree, Zacchaeus crucified his own dignity and pride. Have we done the same in our desire to know the Savior? If we desire to know Jesus today, let us remember Zacchaeus and leave dignity behind as we humble ourselves to seek the one true Son of God.

Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your Word, which preserves for us the stories of those who knew Your Son firsthand. Thank You for the gift of knowing Jesus through Your Word and through Your Holy Spirit. Help me to humble myself, Lord God, so that my dignity becomes less important than seeing Your face. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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