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Day 39 | Zacchaeus

Read Luke 19:1-10

For some who grew up going to church, perhaps the story of Zacchaeus has been stuck on the “flannel board” of your brain. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who so desperately wanted to see Jesus that he climbed a tree in order to see Him when He passed by. I was sharing his story at church camp years ago. I chose the smallest kid to play the leading role and a reluctant counselor to provide the branches from which our little Zach could perch. I picked a Jesus. The drama unfolded. Jesus came to town. Zacchaeus came down. I closed with a question: “What would have happened if Zacchaeus hadn’t climbed the tree that day?” I’m not sure what I expected, but what I got was a dose of first-grade theology. An 8-year-old girl answered: “His song wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to sing!” Some of you will remember the song but imagine had he not made the climb:

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man
A wee little man was he
He started to climb in a sycamore tree
But he didn’t…”

That little girl was on to something. We spend much of our lives completely oblivious to those whose “songs” are “not much fun to sing” because their faith is too small, the crowd is too tall…and they have no sycamore to climb. For years I noticed only three characters in this story—Jesus, Zacchaeus, and the crowd of distractions. I forgot about the sycamore tree. The sycamore tree is you or me. Our job is to lift others above the crowd so they might see the approaching Savior. “When Jesus reached the spot…” Jesus doesn’t stumble upon the tree. This meeting was no accident. He goes “to the spot” as though it’s His destination that day. The story is not about a curious tax collector but about a seeking Savior. Luke eventually tells the story of another tree. Zacchaeus climbs a tree to get the attention of Jesus. Jesus climbs a tree and dies to get ours.

Pray for 10 minutes