Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Small Guy

Jesus encountered many people on that road to Jerusalem, but no one was more excited and enthusiastic about seeing Him than Zacchaeus.  This man of Jericho heard Jesus was passing through his town and wanted so much to see Him that he cast restraint and self-respect to the wind as he climbed up that sycamore tree.  He may have been short in stature, but he was long in imagination and determination.  Unlike his Jericho contemporary, the blind beggar, Zacchaeus was not driven by a need for healing. Something else had taken control of this rich tax collector of Jericho who was known not as a blind beggar, but as a sinner. 
When Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree, He stopped dead in His tracks, and literally invited Himself to the house of this spellbound gawking tree climber.  Jesus surprised everyone.  The first to be surprised was Zaachaeus who figured on being not being noticed.  Zacchaeus' wife was surprised when he got home and told her Jesus and twelve other guys were coming for dinner.  Jesus was also something of a surprise to all those who saw themselves as better candidates for such an honor.  "(Jesus) has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner," was their common complaint.  But, surely the most surprised people in Jericho were the poor and the ones cheated at the hands of the crooked tax collector. On that day coins were put in their hands and words of restitution were put in their ears.

Two men had life changing encounters with Jesus on this last stop before Jerusalem. The blind beggar had sight restored to his eyes and the tax collector had new life restored to his soul.  One was called sinner because he was blind;  the other wore the name because he collected taxes and exploited people in the process.  But, it is obvious that Jesus saw folks differently than we do.  He saw them as those who were full of a desperate risk taking faith and overwhelming spiritual hunger.  When Jesus looked at them, He liked what He saw.  How strange that we place so much value on what others see in us, or what we see in the mirror when it is so little of what Jesus is hoping to see in us.

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