Zacchaeus, come quickly!
Luke 19, 5
Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem. Only He knew what was waiting for Him. HE had told the disciples several times, but they did not seem to hear. On the way to Jerusalem He came to Jericho. Many people accompanied Him and a blind man who was begging there cried out: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” – Jesus let him come and healed his eyes. All who saw this praised God. And you can imagine how Jesus’ fame spread throughout the city. Jesus is coming! – could be heard everywhere and people ran to see the One who can make the blind see.
Jesus made slow progress – the crowd was too big.
In Jericho there lived a man, the head of customs, who had become rich through corruption. His name was Zacchaeus. He too wanted to see who this Jesus was. But the crowd blocked his view, for he was very small. He tried to squeeze in everywhere, but he could not – there were too many people. Then an idea came to him: he ran ahead on the path that Jesus had to take and climbed a small tree, a mulberry tree. There he lay in the branches and watched the bustle below. And then he saw Jesus walking through the crowd. Oh, he thought, what a man! – and he was fascinated by Jesus, by His kindness, His patience and His dignity. Like a kind and strong king, Zacchaeus thought. He admired this Jesus, of whom he had heard so much, and was glad that he finally saw Him. Then suddenly the train stopped. Jesus looked around searching, and then He looked up into the tree as if someone had told Him that Zacchaeus was there. Jesus looked into Zacchaeus’ eyes, and Zacchaeus saw in those eyes all the divine love, the acceptance of his person that had been missing all his life, the kindness of God. He saw the whole depth of God. And he realised that Jesus knew him well, and yet did not condemn him. Jesus looked on him benevolently when He said: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly! For today I must be a guest in your house! – Zacchaeus was no longer surprised that Jesus knew his name – after all, God knows every person by name. He climbed, in fact he slid down the tree in a hurry and joyfully welcomed Jesus. He was so proud that he grew by half a meter ….
Jesus had left all the others behind, but he wanted to be a guest at his home. Not with the proud Pharisees, not with the chief priests, not with the scholars, but with him, the publican. The people, however, became angry and indignant and quickly spoke ill of Jesus. If He were a prophet, He would know Zacchaeus well and not go to Him! So people became angry with Jesus instead of rejoicing with Him and Zacchaeus.
A very joyful meal was held. Zacchaeus was in a good mood because he had found a real friend. Jesus had healed him of the inferiority complexes due to his small stature. HE had healed the lack of love Zacchaeus experienced and had poured love without end into his heart. HE had forgiven all that Zacchaeus had done, all of corruption. HE had made a real human being out of Zacchaeus, a friendly, happy, lovable human being. Zacchaeus was sooo happy! He looked at Jesus and said: “Lord, I don’t need the money anymore. I will give half of it to the poor. And where I have deceived someone, I will repay him fourfold.” – So his past was cleared and Jesus was proud of him. HE said to the former head of the mafia, the top criminal, the lost sheep: Today salvation has been given to this house, because this man is also a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and save what is lost.
Thank You Jesus, for the salvation! You have accepted me also , and You call me Your child. How good that feels! Thank You, You have chosen me because I would be lost without You. Thank You!