Luke 19 Zacchaeus
1 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. 2 There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. 3 He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.5 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home."6 Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. 7 Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?"8 Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages."9 Jesus said, "Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! 10 For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.
In the Treetop
I have been attending a church named THE SYCAMORE for about five months. They take their name from this story of Zacchaeus, and the tree he climbed in order to be able to see Jesus. Their motto is, “Helping people see Jesus.” This is their goal, this is their mission.
The Bible doesn’t really tell us how high Zacchaeus climbed up in that sycamore tree, but I can imagine him going all the way to the top. He wanted to make sure he was high enough to get a good look at Jesus when He came by. And perhaps he wanted to get high enough that the crowd would not notice him. What would they think if they saw him, of all people, trying to see this Jesus?
Oh, if today more people would make the effort to see Jesus for themselves. If we know Jesus is near nothing and nobody should stop us from looking upon His majesty. So often, even in churches, we are so worried about what someone may think of our efforts to be closer to the Lord.
What will they think if I worship in this manner? Does anyone lift their hands high in this church? What will they think if I go to the altar to pray, or even worse do a praise dance there? Are only the unsaved allowed to go down and pray? Will the people think I am a heathen if I go pray? If I do go, what if I want to pray longer than a minute? What if the music stops while I am praying? Should I then get up and go sit down, even I’m not done praying? Will they think I am only trying to draw attention to myself? Is it only me, or have other Christians felt this same dilemma?
At The Sycamore Church, there is freedom of worship, which is good. I admittedly am still worried about what may be thought of my worship there, or my altar time which I long for, actually desperately need. They recently moved to a new building which I believe is the perfect place for a church with their name and their mission. You see, Sunday, as the pastor was preaching in front of the large beautiful windows, I saw the Zacchaeus story come to life through those windows.
The building that houses the church now is on a very high hill, the closest thing to a mountain, we have in this area. As I looked at the front of the church, beyond the altar, on the platform, behind the preacher delivering God’s Word Sunday, I saw treetops through the windows. I have no idea what variety of treetops, but treetops. I immediately, mostly in my mind I am sure, saw Zacchaeus in one of the trees hanging on for dear life, desperately wanting to see inside the window to get a glance at Jesus, who surely must have been inside.
This was my “wow moment” for the day. The wheels began to turn and I thought of the marvelous opportunity we as Christians have to get a glance of Jesus somewhere every single day. Unlike the day when Zacchaeus climbed that sycamore tree thinking Jesus was only passing by, He is here among us always. Are we desperate enough to do whatever it takes to get closer to Him?
Do what it ever it takes. If you have to find a treetop, start climbing. Do not worry about what the crowds think, or what Jesus thinks of your past or present. He wants to restore you. He wants to come to your house. Salvation has come and is available to all who find their way to Jesus