“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’ But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’”
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.”
Zacchaeus heard He was coming. He was not about to miss the opportunity to see Jesus. He just wanted to see Him. He didn’t plan on an encounter. He planned on a glimpse. He was only supposed to catch sight of this One who was passing through.
Let’s ask though, what can a vision of Jesus do for us? What difference does it make when we see, actually see, Jesus?
But there was a barrier. The crowd was too big and Zacchaeus was too small. This took a little problem solving. He was not about to let his small stature interfere with his great desire to see. Maybe Zacchaeus had climbed trees before to get above the crowd. Maybe it was an ordinary approach to an ordinary problem for him. We know this, it worked. He had a ringside seat above the path. Jesus was in Jericho and was passing through. He was coming that way.
Until…He stopped. He stopped right under the tree and looked up.
He stopped right under the tree, looked up, and spoke his name. He said, “Zacchaeus!”
How did that happen? How did Someone who was just passing through Jericho know that Zacchaeus was perched in a sycamore-fig tree and know his name?
Jesus looked up and Zacchaeus came down. He stood face to face with the One he came to see. He had hoped for a glimpse but caught a vision.
With his eyes filled with the sight of the Savior, he saw his life pass before him. He was a tax collector. The title was synonymous with “thief” in the hearts and culture of the Jewish people. It was highway robbery that didn’t take place on the highway but at the tax collector’s booth. The tax collector assessed the taxes, but he also assessed the situation. He added any fees he liked. You walked away from his booth knowing you had been cheated and knowing there was nothing you could do about it. Your pockets were empty and his were full. You burned with anger because your gold kept him warm at night.
But when Zacchaeus caught sight of Jesus, he saw who and what He was. This didn’t take problem solving. This took repentance. He recognized his sin and was going to do something about it. He told Jesus he would pay back four times what he had stolen.
Jesus answered him, “Today salvation has come to this house.”
“Salvation!” It is the Greek word “Yeshua.” We would say, “Jesus.”
What can happen when we catch sight of Jesus?