And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5).This episode took place at Jericho just before Jesus enter into Jerusalem the last time. Jericho lay on the cross road from Peria to Judaea and Egypt, and had an important custom house, which was used as a tax place. The Balm which came especially from the Gilad district was sent through there into all the parts of the world. Zacchacus was a publican, which meant that he collected taxes for the Romans in this certain area of the country. His cooperation with the Roman army and his profiteering at the expense of his fellow countrymen made him, like all other publicans, hated by the people of his community.
One day it was told him that Jesus was going to pass through Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. Since He was the most famous person in all the country, everyone wanted to see Him as He passed through. Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming and, like others, he wanted to see this famous teacher and miracle worker who was considered by some to be the Son of God. It is said that Zacchaeus was a short man. So for him to see Jesus he would climb up in a sycamore tree which was along the way by which Jesus was to come. I wondered how many others had the same idea. Little, did he know what was in store for him?
The Bible tells us that Jesus was the friend of sinners. His eyes were constantly open to see the needs of those about Him. I would say that his ears were open to hear the heart of those who were crying in their heart and who were lonely and distressed. His ministry was intended to be a blessing, not only to the good and innocent, but also to the guilty and the outcast. That is one reason He came to this old sinful earth of ours. As Jesus approached the sycamore tree He looked up and saw the rich publican perched on a limb, looking down. I want us to imagine some of the thoughts that passed through the mind of Zaccacus.
“He saw me!” Never had Zacchaeus felt so conspicuous as he did when Jesus lifted His loving eyes with penetrating insight and looked up to see Zacchaeus sitting on that limb. I believe Zacchaeus was socked and maybe embarrassed and wished that he was behind a big rock and not up in a tree. Did it ever occur to you that Jesus also sees you? He sees you right now. He saw you yesterday. His loving eyes were upon you a year ago. He sees the secret that no one knows but yourself. He knows the unspoken thought of your mind. “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? (Matthews 9:4). He also sees the emotions that surge through your heart.
“He knows me!” As Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus, He called him by name and said, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house (Luke 19:5).Do, you think that Zacchaeus had a name plate on, I don’t think so. You see the Lord knows each of us by our first name. He even knows our birthday. He knows the grades that your kids make at school, when you don’t even. He knows you middle name. He knows your nickname. He knows everything about you. You might think that it could be that they had met before. I don’t think so. Jesus was on His way to died on the cross and He knew that there was a man by the name of Zacchaeus who needed Jesus as his Savior. If Jesus had not passed by that day Zacchaeus might be in hell today. Jesus didn’t want that.
“He loves me!” The Bible tells us that most of the people in Jericho hated Zacchaeus. “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luke 19:8).The people of Jericho would not walk down the same street with him or invite him into their homes. They treated him as a traitor to his country. He could see hate in their eyes and on their faces. But there was something in Jesus face and in his tone of His voice that warmed the heart of Zacchaeus. He rejoiced in the assurance of God’s love for him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Let me ask you a question? Are you aware that Jesus loves you in spite of the fact that many ways you are unlovely and unlovable? He loves you to the extent that He was will to die on the cross for your sins. He loves you and wants you to let Him come into your heart so that He can bestow upon you the blessings of God. He will always love you, not because of your loveliness, but because God is love. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him” (Hosea 14:4).
“He can have me!” Zaccaeus made the wisest decision of his life when he decided to come down from that tree and turn his heart, home, life, and business over to the will of God. He made Jesus his Lord, and Jesus said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9-10).
Would you be wise enough to follow the example of Zacchaeus in his decision to let Jesus have first place in his heart and life? You can be certain that Zacchaeus never regretted his decision. And you will not regret it either. Why don’t you make a decision to let Jesus to be your Savior, and Lord?