A short guy climbing a tree to see over the heads of a crowd intrigues us. Discouragement over his stature and the size of a crowd could have derailed the pursuit of his dream. Zacchaeus did not let that stop him; his determination overruled his dilemma. He implemented his plan of seeing Jesus by climbing the now famous sycamore tree.
Jesus arrived and looked up to see what must have been a comical sight as Zacchaeus watched from his perch: a wealthy, friendless, short guy roosting in a tree, determined to see Jesus passing by. The watcher got more than he expected.
Notice the words Christ spoke to him: “Zacchaeus,” Jesus chuckles, “What are you doing up there? Come down here and let’s get lunch.”
Zacchaeus came down and took Jesus to his house. The short man’s life changed.
The religious folks didn’t care for Christ’s new friend but Christ didn’t care much for their opinions. The reason? Because Jesus cared for Zacchaeus. For one man. For one tiny man willing to climb a tree and take a glance at a Friend walking by.
I imagine the scene. I consider others who were gazing at Jesus, at Zacchaeus, at the facial expressions of others. I wonder what character I resemble the most.
Stories like this invite me back to the bigger story. They help me work through my own shortness and find a place to gain a better view.
I don’t want to stand, watch, reach conclusions, and do nothing.
I want Jesus to come over.
What should I do? How can I climb better to place myself in His sight? I need to pause this way sometimes: find the nearest tree and climb to the top.
Maybe I climb by studying a commentary on a biblical text, by singing an ancient hymn I could hardly understand when hearing it as a young child, by meditating on a modern song that might seem a little too feel-good-for-some but actually could be just what I need for my climb, by refusing to rush the climb but slowly meditating on an creed agreed upon by many denominations, by praying for a miracle, by reading a creative book to expand my damaged brain that God still has plans for, by writing a poem, by staring at nature, by seeing a person beside me hoping to climb also and choosing to help them join me in seeing Jesus.
If we need to see Jesus better, let’s do whatever we must to gain a glance. No inconvenience is too tall.