Q1: How are you positioning yourself to experience Jesus, who is passing by?
Sometimes we position ourselves with the intent to see Jesus and immediately do as he leads. But I've seen often how we'd climb "a tree" for a Jesus encounter only to continue to sit perched when Jesus calls us to join him in the work he has for us. We stay in the tree overlooking Jesus because people mutter; other times because we feel disqualified by our past, or worse, because there's too much work in the call to serve.
But Zacchaeus' story was different.
Read Luke 19:1-10
Because of Zacchaeus' physical stature, societal structure, and social sphere, there were obstacles that prevented him from seeing Jesus. There are obstacles in our lives that prevent us from seeing Jesus when he comes by but we are not to focus on the obstacles, because if we do, we won't be able to see the divine opportunities in life.
The question is not what we cannot do but what to do. If you want it you will find a way to do it.
Zacchaeus couldn't see Jesus entered Jericho and a man was there. We read of one man in a city full of people, a city that had become one of the most desirable places to live during Jesus' time.
John Wesley, in his New Testament notes on this section of Luke's gospel, claimed that about twelve thousand priests and Levites dwelt there who all attended the service of the temple. There was an entire crowd around Jesus, but we don't know much about that crowd or the priests. Instead, we learn about one of the greatest sinners in Jericho at that time- a chief tax collector.
Tax-Collectors were despised by their fellow Jews. There were an ever-present symbol of foreign oppression. They used cruel methods to become wealthy at the expense of their countrymen and they worked in close association with Gentiles. For these reasons, tax-collectors were treated as the lowest class of sinners. Socially, they were rejected. Politically, they were regarded as traitors. Religiously, they were excommunicated as renegades. Legally, they were disregarded in the courts.
They community did not see any value in Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus' human dignity was stepped all over. He was not considered worthy of respect, acceptance, and love.
Q2: How does Jesus respond?
He goes to spend time with Zacchaeus. Given the status of tax collectors in Jewish society, it is remarkable that Jesus reached out to tax collectors. The power of redemption and restoration is so great that there is not class of people beyond the scope of God's mercy.
Jesus must stop if we desire him. Must in this case means necessity brought on by the conduct of others toward us. A person is compelled to react in response to the actions of someone else toward them. At the intersection of Jesus' presence and our desire for Jesus begins our journey of restoration.
Jesus always intersect our lives. He is in all spheres of society. There is no place too broken that he does not enter. When we are in proximity to Jesus our desire for Jesus increases and we can position ourselves to see Jesus face to face.
Jesus knew Zacchaus by name. He knows you by name. He enters your life daily.
Reflection: Are you looking and positioning yourself to see Jesus?
Prayer: Thank you Lord for always seeing us. When hardship comes let us remember to intentionally position ourselves to see you.