Jesus was traveling through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem – the place where he would give up his life. He knew the plan and was focused on it.
But He looked up.
He looked up and saw Zacchaeus high in a tree.
Zacchaeus expected to be ignored. He usually was. It is ironic that the name Zacchaeus means innocent or pure. He was anything but innocent. He was a tax collector. A wealthy tax collector who most likely gained his wealth by extortion. No, he was not innocent by any stretch of the imagination. He was considered a bad man and was ignored.
Being a short man, he climbed the tree to see over the crowds while Jesus passed. In the branches of the tree, he would be hidden. He would be camouflaged. He could perch in the tree, get a good view of Jesus, and be hidden from those who would turn their backs on him.
But Jesus is the One who sees.
Jesus knows who we are and our value. He offers mercy and we won’t find it in the trees we hide in.
Even though he was journeying to the cross, Jesus took the time to look up and see someone in need. Someone whose heart was open and receptive to His love.
The presence of Jesus changed Zacchaeus and He can change us too. His presence changes our mission in life.
His love becomes the heart of everything we say and do when we look up and see those in need around us.
Just like Jesus.
***Based on the John Ketchersid’s sermon on 4/2/2017
Photo by Josch13 at Pixabay