He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short, he could not see over the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree… Verses 3-4 (NIV)
Have you ever been very excited to see a celebrity or a sports hero or anyone who was famous. My youngest son had the privilege of meeting Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors). He was very excited. In the end he was given Kyle’s basketball shoe, which was also signed by Kyle.
Zacchaeus was very excited to meet Jesus. He was so eager to see him that he climbed up into a tree in order to watch as Jesus passed by. We aren’t told what Zacchaeus was feeling that made him so eager to meet Jesus. We do know that he was a tax collector who had gotten rich by cheating people out of their money. Perhaps he realized that was not the best life he could be living, and he was looking for someone to show him a better way. Or perhaps he was just curious about Jesus because he had heard about all the miracles Jesus had done.
No matter what reason Zacchaeus had for wanting to see Jesus, Jesus took their interaction a step further when he told Zacchaeus that he would come and stay at his house. Imagine how shocked he would have been. Even if Zacchaeus didn’t know what he needed, Jesus knew what Zacchaeus needed. And during their time together, Zacchaeus’s life changed. He became a generous person, giving half of his possessions to the poor and paying back the people he had cheated.
No matter what your reasons are for being curious about Jesus, Jesus gladly seeks out a relationship with you too. He invites himself into your life. And when you open your heart to him, your life will change too.
Lord, open my heart to receive your love. Open my life to receive your power to change me. Make me a person who wants to live God’s way with gratitude for all you have done. Amen.