Almost all of my life I have been in church. Even before my parents became Christians, our family attended church. Therefore I have heard a lot of Bible stories during my lifetime. One of my most favorite stories is about a little man named Zacchaeus. I am sure that if you are like me, as soon as you heard his name, your mind immediately went to the children’s song about him –
Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see…
The song about Zacchaeus is a fun song for kids to sing, but is that all we need to know about him? Does the story of Zacchaeus contain something important for us as adults as well? This week I invite you to join me as we study about this wee little man.
Luke 19:1 He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.
What caused Zacchaeus to do something as strange and bizarre as to climb a tree in the midst of a crowd? Was it simply because he was curious and of small stature? Or was there something else that caused him to do what he did?
Zacchaeus climbed that tree to see Jesus because God was working in his life. Jesus said – “No one can come to me unless the Father draws them…” (see John 6:44) Long before we see God, God sees us. Scripture says that God not only sees us; He draws us to Himself. Often God does this by allowing certain events into our lives that will cause us to begin thinking about our relationship with Him. Maybe it will be a problem that makes us realize our need for His help. Or maybe it will be a friend who will begin to talk to us about spiritual things. Sometimes it’s the change in someone else’s life that intrigues us and causes us to want to know more about what it means to be a Christian. I often wonder if perhaps Zacchaeus knew Matthew before Matthew became a disciple of Jesus. If so, Zacchaeus probably wanted to know what it was that produced such a drastic change in Matthew’s life.
Henry Blackaby (author of Experiencing God) says that whenever we see a non-believer beginning to show interest in spiritual things, we can know that it is because God is at work in their life. I am sure that when Jesus saw Zacchaeus sitting in a tree, He knew that something significant was about to happen.