WHY WOULD JESUS GO THERE?
LUKE 19:2-7 NKJ
2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
This has been a favorite story of mine. As a child in Sunday school, I sang about Zacchaeus being a "wee little man."
Later I discovered there was much more to Zacc than just his size.
He worked for the Romans collecting taxes and making a lot of money off his Jewish brothers. He was rich, and like most tax collectors of that day, he was hated.
But there was something not visible about Zacchaeus that we see in this story. He had a strong spiritual hunger. He wanted to see Jesus so badly that he ran and climbed a tree. That is not typical behavior for wealthy, powerful men. People of Zacchaeus' position rarely put themselves in places that appeared weak or vulnerable. But there he was in a tree when Jesus found him. And not only did Jesus stop for Zacchaeus, but He also stayed with Zacchaeus. Going to a person's home is an honor today, and it was huge in Jesus' day. In fact, that is what made the people of Jericho mad. Why would Jesus go be a guest of a sinner?
Man tends to look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart. God spoke this to Samuel hundreds of years before Jesus' appearance, but the principle still applies today. God still looks at the heart. Zacchaeus had a strong heart hunger to see Jesus, and Jesus responded.
Even today, the hungry are the ones who get filled. The ones who don't care or have little interest in spiritual things, little interest in God do not see Him show up near as much.
It took some effort to run ahead and climb a tree, but hunger moved Zacchaeus. It takes effort to seek God, pray, read, be involved in church, to live with God. But it's our hunger for God that can motivate us to action.
If your hunger has waned a bit, this would be an appropriate time to ask God to help you stir that hunger up. We want to be run ahead tree climbing hungry. And we want to see more of Jesus in our lives.
Dear Father, help me stir up a hunger for You and for the things of Your Kingdom. In the end, it's the best thing I can do.