When a short man meets the greatest man (Part 1)

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The account of Zacchaeus is one of the interesting events in the Bible. It is expository of the loving God reaching out to the outcast in the society. 

The less privileged, the homeless, the sick, the rejected, etc, all had a physical and spiritual encounter with Jesus. He never castigates anybody. He touched the untouched and ate with the sinners. 

Psalm 130:3. If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 

Analysing this man called Zacchaeus, these following unique attributes was found out in him. 

1. SHORT MAN. This man is literally a short man. He could well be lost in the large crowd. This must have been a concern to him. He realised it but never allowed it to define him. He will stop at nothing to achieve his desire. Being short is not solely a physical challenge; one can be short spiritually and mentally as well.The story of the 10 spies sent to monitor the state of affairs on the ground at Canaan land(their promised land)  can be used for corroboration. Eight people out of the ten people assigned, belittled themselves, and the whole nation. They thought they have no chance defeating the Giants. As a matter of fact,  they saw themselves as grasshoppers. 

Numbers 13:33 . “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

In contrast, Saul was a tall man by stature but possessed little-mind mentality. Someone who could not see himself amount to anything because of the circumstances that surrounded him whilst growing up, i.e, family background. In his own case, height was never a problem but a function of his mindset. 

1Sam 15:17. Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel.

2. CHIEF TAX COLLECTOR. This job is the most hated among his kinsman. Nobody wants to have it on their CV. They saw tax collector as a traitor, working for tax masters from Rome; their colonial master. Let’s think of it, no one enjoys paying taxes even to this day. Many cooperation pays little or no tax, many forged accounts to hide up the exact state of the account. Likewise, some people registered as self-employed so as not to pay exact tax. But unlike this people, they have nowhere to hide. They cannot afford to falter. Otherwise, they will be tormented by the Roman soldiers or end up in jail. However, as believers, we must be faithful and honest in paying our taxes. Even Jesus paid tax. 

Matt 17;24-25. After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
25 “Yes, he does,” he replied……..

 

3.   WEALTHY MAN. He had money and fame. He was hated not because he was rich but how he got rich. Tax collectors billed people more than the state required them to do. They add something to it for their own greedy gains. Even though people may know about this, there is nothing they can do about it. He was probably collecting revenue on two fronts. The salary coming from the Roman government and the other through surcharging. Despite being rich, he recognised something was still missing in his life. No matter the achievements of any ungodly man, he”ll still know that something is lacking. But rather than many of them coming to God, they chose to fill the emptiness with all sorts of ungodly addictions. Every wealthy people must recognise that they may be rich toward man, but until they are rich toward God, they are not rich.

Luke 19:2. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

Nonetheless, this man would not allow his reputation to debarred him of seeking Jesus. He ran ahead of the crowd to climb the tree so that when Jesus was passing, he would be able to see him. A highly placed person in the society climbed the tree without any shame or feeling of what people might say. Seeing Jesus was his priority at this time.He sacrificed his comfort to do the unlikely thing. No wonder Jesus saw him. 

Luke 19:4. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

Perhaps he had thought Jesus may not be able to see him. Maybe he had imagined that even if Jesus did not see him, at least, he would be able to see Jesus. He doesn’t know that God knows the desire of every heart, He can see everyone wherever they are. God can meet you at any point of your needs, even in the thick of the crowd. You only need to be genuine in your anticipation of Him. 

2 Chron 16:9a. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 

To everyone’s chagrin, when Jesus looked at the tree and saw him, he loudly called out his name. I have a feeling that he would be shocked. ‘Who would not?’ Apparently, they’ve never come across before. He climbed on the tree because he had heard of Jesus, but he never knew Jesus knew him and heard about him too. God knows every human being. He knows us by names.  He is yearning for every sinner to come to him. But like Zacchaeus, they need to do something about the Gospel news they hear. Jesus is always passing by. Call on him, He is nearer than you think. This is your right time to call him and start a relationship with him. It doesn’t matter how bad your past was, He will forgive you if you confess your sins and determine to follow him for the rest of your life.

Isa 1: 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

This message might be your sycamore tree that you need to climb to connect you with your Maker. If  Zacchaeus had not climbed the tree, he would probably have missed his opportunity for salvation. But thank God he did. 

Today is the day of your salvation. Don’t postpone it to some other time.

I will continue in this series in my next post. There are still many lessons to learn from this great story. 

Note: All Bible scriptures used are from NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.

  Stay happy and blessed

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent piece! “Seeing Jesus was his priority at this time.He sacrificed his comfort to do the unlikely thing. No wonder Jesus saw him.” Wow! If we could only grasp the power of that revelation. Our faith is most evident when we seek the Lord during and in spite of the challenging times in our lives. Thank you for this encouragement. It’s truly a timely message.

  2. Well done. I like the comparisons and examples you made. This is a great statement: “He can see everyone wherever they are. God can meet you at any point of your needs, even in the thick of the crowd. You only need to be genuine in your anticipation of Him.”

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