Zacchaeus was a short man. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being short in physical stature. But he was coming up short in ways that matter. Are you coming up short in an area of life? The key is to do whatever it takes to encounter Jesus in a new way.
If you’ve ever had a season when you struggled with personal finances, you know it can be draining on a number of levels.
Are there issues with a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse? Are you a parent? Parents know that family life comes with both fulfillment and challenges.
If your life was an exercise in math, would it feel like subtraction?
Or maybe it feels like subtraction … followed by addition and subtraction again, and on and on.
If we’re coming up short is some area, how can we approach it creatively and see the limits removed?
Zacchaeus … coming up short
Because he cooperated with the Roman occupational government, he was hated by both common people and the Israeli elites.
As a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus likely supervised a large tax district.
Jericho was a prosperous trading center, an important site for goods entering Israel from the East. Collaborating with the Romans had its perks: big money was coming Zacchaeus’ way.
Though an Israelite, he enriched himself by fraudulently over-taxing his own people. And so he was a social and religious outcast.
Now Zacchaeus was a short man. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being short in physical stature.
But he was coming up short in ways that matter …
Get to where Jesus is
Imagine how poor his relationships must have been. Not to mention his status as an outcast in society.
Money had deceived him. He had no contentment, peace or joy. Desperate.
Think of it … a man like Zacchaeus, climbing a Sycamore tree so that he can get above the crowd to see Jesus as he passed by.
It’s something a child would do.
What we can learn from Zacchaeus is we have to locate Jesus. How is he moving? Where is he going?
See Luke 19:1-10.
“I must come to your home today.”
This is the only time in the Gospels where Jesus invited himself into someone’s home. There’s a sense of command about it.
“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down. I must come to your home today.”
As he positioned himself to encounter Jesus, there was a surprising response from Jesus. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).”
Of course everyone complained about Jesus going to the home of a “sinner.”
But that day, Zacchaeus was radically converted into a Christ-follower. He committed to go way, way beyond the Old Testament laws of restitution.
“Today, salvation has come to this house,” Jesus said.
It’s a big word in the New Testament. Salvation (soteria, Greek) … rescue, deliverance, preservation, soundness and prosperity, total well-being.
When Jesus saves, it’s both spiritual and material. Present and future—a present reality waiting for a complete fulfillment.
Kingdom key: It may seem simple at first. When we’re coming up short in some way (even as a Christ-follower), the key is to do whatever it takes to encounter Jesus in a new way. Then, he invites himself into our lives in a more expansive way. He delivers. Again and again. And he has the best information and solutions for our lives! Listen and take action.
Jesus, I desperately need you. I desire you. What I’ve pursued has left me empty and thirsty. I’m self-deceived. A liar. I’ve lied to myself. What are you up to, Jesus? I want to be there. I’ll humble myself and do anything to get to you. To get to the reality of your kingdom in this life now. And in the future. I’m changing and following you. Holy Spirit, lead me and show me Jesus. Father, thank you for sending your Son to rescue me. Amen.
image credit (sycamore tree): Ian Scott, Wikipedia Commons