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. – Lk. 19:3-4 NIV
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Jesus Christ, in the course of his teachings on the process a Christian should follow to address the case of a brother who offends him/her, had concluded that if such a brother after following all the processes he listed out still refuses to change, such should be treated as a pagan or a tax collector – Matt. 18:15-17. That teaching revealed how Tax Collectors are viewed generally. They are seen as people to be avoided, probably because their job schedule seeks to take hard earned income away from people or because they are seen mostly as people who are corrupt in the manner they go about their day-to-day activities. So it must have been surprising when the same Jesus Christ on entering Jericho, chose to visit the home of not just a tax collector but their Chief.
The reason may however not be too far-fetched as revealed by the scriptures. Not only was Zacchaeus the Chief Tax Collector, he was also very rich but his wealth did not stop his desire to see Jesus. Knowing that large crowds were always following Jesus and realising that he was short in stature, he anticipated the path Jesus was going to take and went ahead to climb a sycamore fig tree that was high enough so that he would be able to see him as he passes through that location.
For someone to have gone through all that to see Jesus Christ, there cannot be any more proof of his desire. If anyone has gone through all that to see Jesus Christ, definitely he will equally make himself available to such – Jer. 29:13. All Jesus wants of men is to desire to see him which will be proven in the way they search for him. Zacchaeus did not see Jesus Christ by accident but by design as indicated below:
- Zacchaeus was not going to allow his physical features to serve as a hindrance. He accepted the fact that he was one with a small body frame and took steps to ensure that what he did not have was not going to stop him from getting what he desired. All who desire to see Jesus Christ, Christians inclusive, must firstly accept their short comings and be willing to do something about it – 1Jn. 1:8-9; Isa. 1:18. That determination must also be obvious to God and man. A Christian who hopes to see Christ in his/her life must acknowledge all his/her sins. One who does not do so will not see Jesus – Rom. 3:23. It is not about the weight of your sin just as it was not about the height of Zacchaeus, but about the determination to stop that sin. One who willingly continues in sin will not see Jesus Christ, no matter how long he/she spends in and around the Church – Rom.6:23. There must be the obvious determination to overcome that moral deficit and that is when your effort will be acknowledged and rewarded – Heb. 11:6
- Zacchaeus ran ahead of everyone. It is not possible to see Jesus if the effort you are putting into the whole desire is like that of every one. There must be the extra effort, to stand you out of the crowd. The Bible records that a large crowd was following Jesus Christ, but it was the determination of the woman with the issue of blood to do the unusual that got her healing – Mk. 5:25-34. Same was the case with the healing of the paralytic whose relations had to drop through the roof to access Jesus Christ. He too received healing – Mk. 2:2-5. It was only the virgins with extra oil that saw Jesus – Matt. 25:1-13. You also need the X-Factor to see him.
- Zacchaeus did not just climb any sycamore tree but chose that particular one because he must have taken time to study the pattern or habit of Jesus Christ. Either by seeking information from those who know Christ very well or by some form of intuition, he was able to successfully strategize to see him. It will be impossible for you as a Christian to see Jesus of you do not study to know his habits either through the scriptures (Jn. 5:39-40), or through teachings and directive of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26) or human mentors – Acts 18:24-28. Create time to read and meditate on the Word as that remains a major step to be taken to see Jesus. Do not seek for him in dead places as he rose already – Lk. 24:5. A life without the Word that quickens cannot provide a platform to see Jesus Christ – Heb. 4:12. The Word of God has to be active in a life that wants to see Jesus Christ in all that he/she does.
You will need to show strong desire to see Jesus Christ in your life or in that your situation for him to appear. It is not enough to just be in Church but you must have a way of touching him with your actions that indicate the level of the desire. It can only be a way that is specific to you but once you start on it, persistence becomes very key. There is no doubt that if you earnestly seek him, you will find him. May he avail us of his presence in Jesus name. Amen.