Have you ever seen a famous person in public? Have you ever caught a glimpse of a movie star or entertainer in a restaurant, on the street, or in an airport? Perhaps you’ve attended a concert where you’ve been able to observe a well-known personality “live and in color”. Maybe you’ve even been able to meet them and shake their hand. Often it takes effort to position ourselves better our view for the opportunity to get a glimpse of a celebrity.
We are drawn naturally to the presence of a famous personality. We have an innate curiosity to gaze upon those who have been elevated to fame and to study them in person. We are eager to declare later how we have seen a particular great person. Better yet, we like to see personally their talents, unique countenance, or physical appearance so we can compare the real person to the legend.
Zacchaeus (Luke 19) had heard the legend and reputation of Jesus Christ, and was familiar with much of the work and teachings of our LORD. On a lesser scale, Zacchaeus himself had a public reputation, as he was a chief tax collector and a wealthy man. However, Zacchaeus’ celebrity paled in comparison to Jesus’, although their fame also included the unpleasantness of notoriety. Nevertheless, when Jesus came to his town of Jericho, Zacchaeus desired greatly to satisfy his curiosity and longed to get a glimpse of the One who called Himself the Son of Man.
Despite his zeal, Zacchaeus faced a logistical problem – he was short in stature and the crowd around him was large, eclipsing his view of the procession. As was His custom, Jesus was walking. He was not carried on men’s shoulders for all to see, riding neither in a chariot nor on even a lowly animal such as a donkey. Jesus strolled humbly and would be easily missed unless Zacchaeus took effective action.
Zacchaeus demonstrated that, despite his small stature, he possessed a lively spirit and a large soul. Spiritually, he was head and shoulders above many of the men around him. He did not wish to be taller, he wished only to improve his position so he could see Jesus, and seeing Jesus always elevates us spiritually.
Moreover, Zacchaeus’ social position was quite elevated. He was not just a tax collector, but a chief among tax collectors, which ranked him as one of the city’s elite. Those in charge politically typically eschew situations that could embarrass them. At this moment, however, Zacchaeus put his lofty status aside. Ignoring the potential insult to his social position, he ran excitedly to a nearby tree. Climbing shamelessly, as a young boy might, Zacchaeus elevated himself in the sycamore tree to obtain a clear and unobstructed glimpse of LORD Jesus.
It is normal for those who sincerely want to see Jesus Christ to use any appropriate means to gain sight of Him. It is normal for those of sincere faith to battle difficulties and opposition in order to see Him. Those who find themselves small, whether in stature or in spirit, must do everything proper to raise themselves up to get a glimpse of Jesus. One must not be ashamed to admit they need Him.
What is your view of Jesus? Are you doing everything you can to get a glimpse of Jesus Christ? Are you letting your social status block your view of the only One who can save you for eternity? Are you willing to act shamelessly in order to keep Jesus Christ in your view at all times?
Zacchaeus shows us it is normal to go out of our way to get a glimpse of Christ. This sinner shows us it is normal to ignore our social position so we can claim our salvation. Remember the enthusiasm, effort, and zeal of Zacchaeus as you try to get a better glimpse of Jesus Christ today.
A servant of Jesus Christ
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