Out on a Limb
Jesus and Zacchaeus
Luke 19:1-10 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” 9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man[a] came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector in the region. Due to his mistreatment of his fellow Jews, he had become very rich. You see the Jews opposed the Roman’s heavy taxes because these taxes supported a secular government and its pagan gods. So, tax collectors were among the most unpopular people in Israel. Since they chose to work for Rome, they were considered traitors. In addition to this everyone knew that they were making themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews.
Every society, even ours, has a certain group of people who are considered “undesirable”. Just as Jesus loved Zacchaeus, His love is also extended to all the “undesirables”. Luke 19:10 states, “For the son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” Men’s opinion has NO impact on God. God never requires perfection or to see how religious we are. He looks deep within us to see beyond the masks we put on for the world. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
Zacchaeus was a short man, but he was not about to let his limitations keep him from seeing Jesus. This makes me look inward…. What limitations do I have that I let keep me from Jesus? What insecurities or inabilities do I allow to prohibit me from drawing near to Jesus? When I look at myself and my abilities I’m often stopped in my tracks. Self-doubt cripples me and renders me useless and unwilling to move forward. Oh how I can get paralyzed by fear! Father help me to have the determination I need to get me out on a limb for Jesus too!
However, when I look at God, all confidence can be restored. There is NOTHING too hard for my God and NOTHING that He can’t help me overcome. Jeremiah 32:27 states, “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”
Zacchaeus was hated, yet he did not let the crows stop him. He had physical barriers, yet pushed himself to find ways around them. He was determined! Philippians 3:14 breezes through my heart. “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Here we find Zacchaeus literally racing ahead of the crowd to climb a tree just so he can see Jesus. His pressing forward and his determination not to give up gave him a clarity of Jesus that he would not have had if he had chosen to stay stuck in his limitations. Jeremiah 29:13, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
When Jesus passed by Zacchaeus, He called up to him by name. There was an urgency about it. There was a closeness and intimacy that Jesus desired to have with him. This ignites such an excitement within me! This is yet another beautiful picture of how when we look for Jesus, He will make himself known and he will come to us. What a beautiful picture of how He is a close personal God that calls us by name. How He comes to sit with us in the homes of our hearts.
The world may reject us. The world may condemn us; but our God comes to find us right where we are. Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” He comes to bring salvation to our homes. He has come to seek and save those who are lost.
Are you feeling lost and alone today? Do you feel trapped by limitations you don’t know how to get past? Do you feel rejected and discarded? You do NOT have to stay this way! You too can get clarity of Jesus. You too are someone Jesus has come to seek and to save. Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Father, I am so thankful that you are not a far off and distant God. I’m so thankful that You sent Jesus to seek and to save the lost. How you meet us right where we are, sinners in need of Your saving grace. I call out to you on behalf of every woman reading this blog. God whatever barriers that are keeping them from knowing You and from seeing You, with 20/20 vision, I pray in the name of Jesus that You would tear those barriers down. In the name of Jesus, I pray for every stronghold and cycle to be broken. In the name of Jesus, I ask for freedom to be given to all who are held captive. Run after them Father. Pursue them with Your reckless everlasting love. Show them Jesus’ great saving love for them. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus - AMEN