By Brooke Holt
"And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.” Luke 19:5-6
One of my favorite childhood games was hide and seek. We had a group of neighborhood children who gathered outside each day for various games. Hide and seek was popular with everyone, so we played quite often. The game’s boundary was an entire block of homes. One unlikely person found themselves “it” while the rest of us enjoyed hiding. As much as I loved the adventure of hiding, I hated the waiting and the questions that arose in the waiting: would they find me? Had everyone else been found already, and I was forgotten while they moved into a new game? Was it worth sitting still for this long? Obviously, the most basic question was whether I would be seen and found.
As Zacchaeus sat up in that tree waiting for Jesus, I think the last thing on his mind was being seen. He climbed up there to view Jesus as he was too short to see over the crowds who most certainly would never have let him through. Zacchaeus wanted to see the man about whom he had heard. In fact, Zacchaeus’s curiosity was so strong that he was willing to humble himself to climb the tree and then wait on Jesus.
Zacchaeus did watch and wait, and he got to see Jesus. What a surprise when Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus too. An even bigger surprise awaited him. Jesus told Zacchaeus to hurry down so that Jesus could stay at his house. Zacchaeus, the sinful and despised tax collector, was not just seen by Jesus but Jesus accompanied Zacchaeus home.
We know the desperation to see Jesus drove Zacchaeus to climb that tree; however, who could have guessed how Zacchaeus would respond to Jesus seeing him? Would he fear judgment in the presence of such a holy man? Would Zacchaeus be overwhelmed by shame for the things he had done? Fear and shame could have held Zacchaeus back, but the text tells us about a very different response from Zacchaeus— “so he hurried and came down and received him joyfully” (Luke 19:6).
Jesus saw Zacchaeus, acknowledged Zacchaeus, and invited Zacchaeus to enjoy a relationship with him. What an amazing gift! And not only did Jesus see Zacchaeus in the tree, he also saw into Zacchaeus’s spirit. He knew who Zacchaeus was and what he had done. Jesus also knew who Zacchaeus was meant to be. By fully seeing him, Jesus began a divine work of transformation of setting Zacchaeus free from his past sinful ways to embrace a life of faithfulness.
Do you know Jesus sees you too, sees every aspect of your being (see Psalm 139:1-6)? He sees you completely and invites you into a relationship with him. It doesn’t matter what you have done or not done. He knows it all, and his invitation stands. Will you follow the example of Zacchaeus and receive Jesus joyfully?
Have you ever questioned whether the Lord truly sees you, knows you, and still wants to be in a relationship with you? How does this example of Zacchaeus speak to you today? He sees, knows, and wants you! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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