About The Author

My photo

Daughter of the King - born from above in 1989.

Deborah grew up in a military family and moved to Florida in the early 1970's.  She began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus as her personal Savior. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her writing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Zacchaeus - The wee little man sure knew how to climb!

Jesus had just healed Bartimaeus on the way to Jericho.  The multitudes were ecstatic and praised God for all they had seen.  As Jesus passed through that famous area – the one in which the city walls had miraculously collapsed – there were many citizens and visitors who just wanted to catch a glimpse of the renowned teacher and healer.  There was still skepticism about whether or not Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.

Jesus had told a parable earlier about the rough and hilly road to Jericho.  In it He had shared how a good Samaritan had gone out of his way to care for a total stranger.  Now as He was passing through the city, the crowds were growing as He made His way down the main road towards Jerusalem.  He had a divine appointment that day – one which was set in motion at the very beginning of time itself. 

Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector.  He was in charge of collections for the entire region – and a man of substantial personal holdings.  As was the custom under Roman rule, the tax collector often exacted taxes in excess of that required, and the remainder was kept by him. The Jews hated those from among their brothers who made a living from the extortion and theft that was their livelihood.   Zacchaeus most likely didn’t have many friends.

Luke chapter 19 tells us that Zacchaeus was short in stature.  He was desirous of seeing Jesus, but he had difficulty in finding a place from which to observe Him as He neared the city.  There was a sycamore tree within sight, sturdy and high enough for him to climb, so Zacchaeus made his way there and was sitting on a branch as Jesus passed underneath.  A sycamore in Biblical times was a fig tree, bearing fruit like the ordinary fig – directly on the stem - but was inferior in quality and unfit for consumption.  The tree's wood was durable and highly valued.

The fig tree was symbolic of God’s blessings, prosperity and peace over His chosen people. However, the books of I Kings, Hosea, Jeremiah and Revelation all speak of the wickedness, baroness and judgment that the fig tree represented when Israel rejected God and His Sovereign rule.   

When Jesus cursed the fig tree on the road into Jerusalem it was because the tree displayed leaves – a rightful expectation of blossoming figs - but there was no visible fruit.  The nation of Israel appeared righteous outwardly, but they were inwardly corrupt and spiritually dead.  Jesus came to them expecting to find fruit – but was met with empty words as they professed their coming Messiah.  Jesus condemned the religious leaders in Matthew 23:25 saying, “Woe to you, scribed and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.”

Back to Zacchaeus… The text reveals that Jesus looked up and beheld him at the very moment He passed by.  Imagine having spent considerable effort in shimming up that tree – perched on a lower branch, hoping to stay inconspicuous.  But then, Jesus – a Nazarene from Judea – a well known prophet and teacher stops right underneath the very tree you are sitting in.  He probably thought that Jesus would admonish him for his crooked and greedy lifestyle, or mock him for elevating himself about the crowd as indicative of his position of power.  But nothing would be further from the truth.

Imagine his surprise when Jesus said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” What was going through his mind as he heard the invitation?  Was his heart racing?  Did he worry about his reputation and what the crowds surrounding him would think?  The text in Luke doesn’t tell us any of those details, but what is clear is that Zacchaeus responded quickly and purposefully.  Verse 6 tells us, “So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully." 

Those that followed Jesus and others in the throng began to grumble about Him going to the house of a sinner – namely a despised tax collector.  But Zacchaeus stood in their midst and said to Jesus with conviction and resolve, “Look, Lord, I give half of my good to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore four fold.”  Jesus then said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”   But what is salvation?

His encounter with Zacchaeus is a picture of our invitation to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior  Zacchaeus’ actions are a metaphor for responding to the Gospel message. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  Keeping that in mind, this is how Jesus interacted with His new friend:   
 
Zacchaeus was “called by name” and invited to enter into “fellowship” with Jesus.  He joyfully obeyed and became convicted of his sinful past.  His heart motive was revealed when he announced he would restore what was taken from his fellow countrymen in an ill-gotten manner and surrendered his life over to Jesus.  He was pronounced by Jesus to be a son of Abraham – brought into the Kingdom of God through his public confession and acceptance of Him as Lord.  And finally, he embraced his new found salvation with the demonstration of “good works” by the changed lifestyle he displayed.

Don’t miss the chance to have a personal encounter with Jesus.  I waited until I was thirty-three years old before I “climbed up” to see Him.  I was desperate to make a profound change in my life. 

The question is, “How well do you climb?”


 
 





Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”.  It is written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. 
http://www.Godmissionpossible.com



Share/Bookmark

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Deborah for the good words. Wonder how the world would be different if we all sought Jesus as good ole' Zach did@

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your sweet comments "Built with Grace". I've always loved the story of Zacchaeus and how quickly he embraced the Lord Jesus. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, Deborah! I've been trying to get over here for days to comment. I've had a Zacchaeus on the back burner for ages. I'll wait some more before I do it! :D Great post! I loved your take on ol' Zach! And love your question at the end.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Lynn! You're such a sweetie! He's one of my favorite Bible characters and his story is remarkable. Can't wait to read yours as well! :)

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails