Are You Ready to Climb a Tree?

Are You Ready to Climb a Tree?

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’”

–Luke 19:9-10, ESV

I love the story of Zacchaeus! He’s the chief tax collector and was rich (Luke 19:2). Zacchaeus heard about Jesus and rushes to see him. He’s small in stature and can’t see, so he climbs up a sycamore tree to see him – wanting to make sure he gets a glimpse of the man everyone is talking about. Jesus passes by, and as he does, he looks up and says to Zacchaeus, “Hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5).

Tax collectors were despised. Six times the socially rejected group is mentioned in the book of Luke. Jesus is drawn to those that are rejected and despised.

Several years ago, I traveled to Israel and our group came up to this location – the location where Zacchaeus climbed up a tree.

I remember looking up at this big amazing sycamore tree and picturing Zacchaeus running up to the tree and climbing up it just to get a glimpse of Jesus. His eagerness, his enthusiasm. Luke 19, was right in front of us.

Maybe you know that feeling of not being liked?

I can empathize with Zacchaeus. He was of a profession in those days people didn’t like or trust. I could empathize with Zacchaeus’ situation. People in the media today are often criticized and not liked. Like Zacchaeus, I knew there was more to life and wanted a glimpse of Jesus. I’d climb a tree, a mountain – it didn’t matter. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and fully understood and embraced how He loved me, my world opened up wider than ever before.

But I’d face more questions and concerns. When I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I constantly heard, “How can you possibly work at a TV station? I could never do that. It’s too worldly.”

At first, it really hurt my feelings and confused me, but then I remember how God was using me in the newsroom, to reach people who didn’t know Him. I also remembered reading this story of all the murmurs people were making about Jesus visiting Zacchaeus’ house.

Jesus speaks straight to our hearts.

He came to save the tax collectors, the television news reporters, teachers, actors – I could go on and on. It doesn’t matter the profession. Jesus came to save us. He came to save you and me. And Jesus needs people in those places to be a witness for Him. We have an amazing opportunity to show God’s love through our life example and to reach out and love others. 

As Zacchaeus raced to climb a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus, what lengths would you go to experience His presence? How eager are you? We can dig deep into Scripture, to grow closer to God.

Just like Zacchaeus, I pray God opens our hearts to a renewed excitement to see and learn more about Jesus. To climb a tree – even if for a glimpse – and to reach out and love others.

Prayer: Father, give us a heart to chase after You. You are good. You are loving. You are kind. Thank You that You never give up on us – that You care so deeply about us. Thank You, God that You sent Your Son Jesus to save us. Thank You that when we come to You, we don’t have to be perfect – we just need a heart to know You. Give us strength for today. Encourage us, and Lord put people in our path that need a touch of Your love. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

We hope and pray this encourages you today.

Christine Batchelder