Summary: This morning we’re focusing on a high-ranking IRS man named Zacchaeus who cheated not on his return, but on everyone else’s. He had figured out a way to skim some money off the top and squeeze the last drop from people’s wallets. Jesus not only changed h
In verse 3 we notice that while Zack is very wealthy and successful by the world’s standards, he knew something was missing. Even people today, if they are honest, will eventually admit that there’s more to life than just trying to make money and obtain possessions.
Notice that it doesn’t say that Zack just wanted to see Jesus. No. He wanted to see who Jesus was. He wanted to figure out what it was that made Jesus different from everyone else. He was drawn to this man who had just given sight to the blind beggar on the outskirts of Jericho. Now this healer was walking through his town. He may not have fully understood what was going on in his heart, but Zack had a desperate need to get to Jesus. He probably couldn’t even explain what drew him to see who Jesus was.
Perhaps that’s how some of you are feeling this morning. You’re drawn to Jesus. You’re intrigued by who He is and you want to get to know more about Him. I can remember that happening to me shortly before I became a Christian. I was curious about Jesus and loved to hear about the stories that we’re focusing on in this series.
Zack had at least two problems that day. The first was that he was a short man. I picture him bouncing up and down on his toes, like tigger, trying to see above the taller guys in front of him. With all the crowds pressing in, there was no way for him to get close enough to Jesus. In a large crowd like this I wonder if some unhappy taxpayers took out their frustrations with Zack by giving him an accidental elbow or a shove from the back.
His second problem was spiritual his sins were keeping him from Jesus. Isaiah 59:2 say that “our iniquities have separated us from God.” Not only was Zack of short stature, he, like us, was not able to measure up to God’s standards. He came up far short in a spiritual sense of ever entering into a relationship with God. He was short on integrity and tall on sin.
I love verse 4: “So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” This guy was resourceful. It reminds me of something a friend of mine used to say when I’d play basketball with him. His name was Curt and he was even shorter than I am. He was always grinning and would say this: “I may be short…but I’m slow.”
Zack was short, but he wasn’t slow! He ran ahead of the crowd, looking for a way that he could see Jesus. This picture is a bit amusing, isn’t it? First of all, it would have been considered undignified for a rich man to run. Secondly, I don’t know about you, but it seems funny to me that this wealthy man would shimmy up a tree to see Jesus. Sycamore trees often grew by the side of the road and had branches that grew out horizontally from the trunk, which would give him a good view of Jesus. He probably snagged his cloak on some branches but it didn’t slow him down. Maybe he fell a couple times. He was determined to see Jesus and frankly didn’t care what others thought of his sprinting or his climbing.
Zack did not allow anything, not the crowd or his condition, to stand between him and his desire to see the Lord Jesus. What about you? Do you care enough about the condition of your soul to pay whatever price is necessary to be right with God? Are you willing to turn from that little pet sin? Are you ready to walk away from the crowd in order to see Jesus? Are you ready to run to Him?