Zacchaeus never joined a tree climbing club nor knew what constituted the safe way to climb or the equipment to use. He simply climbed a tree like a child.
Dr. Luke with the artistry of his pen paints a vivid illustration of this scene beginning with a tree set in the city of Jericho. Zacchaeus the “wee little man” and Jesus had a divine appointment unbeknownst to the crowd loyally following and praising God for the healing of the blind man. This “wee little man” ran ahead, climbed the sycamore tree and waited. How often do we equate incidents as just coincidence when Jesus in eternity past has orchestrated our meeting with him and pre-arranges to meet us where we are. Zacchaeus was that man “today.” Is today your day to meet Jesus?
Jesus knew of Zacchaeus even if Zacchaeus did not know him. He had one component that would open his introduction and that was he was curiosity. Although the city dwellers held the “wee little man” in contempt and morally despised this did not stop him. He had heard but not seen the Healer who had just touched a blind man and wanted like the disciples to understand “who is this man that can cure blindness?”
As Jesus passed by he looked up into the tree into the eyes of this despised tax collector. Imagine the scene with Zacchaeus looking down and Jesus looking up while the crowd looks on. Their eyes meet and then the words are spoken just like on the TV Show “come on down!” Instantly the sweet tenor of the people who are accompanying Jesus changes from acceptance to icy stares and glares. It is then that their hearts are revealed. Doesn’t Jesus know Zacchaeus is a sinner! But, Jesus has not come to heal the righteous but the sinner. Just as the elite religious leaders hear words of compassion but they do not change so it is here. Their hearts are hardened to the needy. They are incensed that he would not only welcome Zacchaeus but accompany him to his home!
How like the onlookers we are! We see ourselves as perfect pious believers when in reality we are as black in our sin as Zacchaeus was. The crowd reacted with grumbling but Zacchaeus reacted with joy! Jesus ignored the gossip of the crowd and touched the heart of one man for eternity. Has Jesus touched your heart this day? Have you welcomed him with joy and a changed heart and focus?