Have you ever wanted to pursue something of importance but were hindered by obstacles, including what others might say or think? There is a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus who had something to pursue—he wanted to see Jesus. And he was not deterred by obstacles or by what others might say or think. He had the humility to do what was needed to see who Jesus was; and as a result, God brought salvation to him and his household. We will look at the humble action Zacchaeus took that led to his seeing Jesus Christ.
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press [the crowd]….
As Jesus was passing through Zacchaeus’s hometown, Zacchaeus sought to see him—who he was. Here was this man traveling through the region, and a throng of people was surrounding him. Zacchaeus now took a humbling action to see Jesus.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he [Zacchaeus] was little of stature [short in height].
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he [Jesus] was to pass that way.
Zacchaeus was a man of believing action. By his actions we see the determination he had to see and know this unique man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He was not deterred by the crowd or by the fact that he wasn’t tall enough to see Jesus as he passed by that day. He had a simple solution. He decided to run ahead of the crowd and climb up into a nearby sycamore tree. Climbing the sycamore tree was the solution to his problem. He would now be up high enough to see Jesus in spite of his own height and in spite of the crowd.
What was so humbling about this action? Zacchaeus was a chief publican, or tax collector, for the Roman Empire. This was considered a disreputable occupation by the Judeans. For a rich man like Zacchaeus to climb up into this particular tree would have demeaned him even further in the people’s eyes because sycamore fig trees were despised. This tree was considered a wayside tree. The poor would often sleep under its broad branches and would eat of the inferior figs, which were also used to feed to cows and pigs. But it didn’t matter to Zacchaeus if he received ridicule from the community. He humbly climbed up into this tree in recognition of the importance of Jesus Christ’s coming to his town.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
And he [Zacchaeus] made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house [Zacchaeus’s house], forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham [a believer].
Zacchaeus had a yearning, a persistent desire, to see and learn more about this Jesus of Nazareth. He was not going to let anything deter him from his goal. So he humbled himself and climbed up into the sycamore tree. When Jesus saw him in the tree and invited him to come down and host him, Zacchaeus received him with haste and joy. Because of Zacchaeus’s humility to receive God’s Son, God was able to bless not only Zacchaeus but his house. This rich, important tax collector had a meek and humble heart, and his life was changed forever.
Let’s be like Zacchaeus and not be deterred from doing God’s will for our lives and enjoying the blessings. Let’s keep our hearts humble as we take actions to learn more about God, Jesus Christ, and God’s Word.