“…he wanted to see who Jesus was…”- Luke 19:1-10
When I think about odd couples in the Bible, the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus comes to mind. The Bible describes Zacchaeus as a wealthy man. As a tax collector, our assumption is often that he was greedy and not well-liked. Jesus on the other hand was from humble origins and the crowds followed him because of his kindness and love. Two very different people with two very different lives.
What strikes me every time I read this story is Zacchaeus’ curiosity. Verse 3 tells us “he wanted to see who Jesus was.” This might imply that Zacchaeus was not just a star-struck spectator, but genuinely wanted to understand more about Jesus’ motives, actions and words. He even went so far as to climb a tree to achieve his goal of seeing Jesus.
When Jesus and Zacchaeus finally came face to face, there was a spirit of welcoming, forgiveness, generosity, and kindness that we read about in their interaction. The encounter certainly changed Zacchaeus’ life, for he was able to see more about Jesus and understand more about the very nature of God.
Just outside my office, lining the streets around our downtown campus, there are multiple sycamore trees. They are not the exact type of tree found in this story, but they constantly remind me of this story. I believe our church is a place that helps people to see Jesus – who he was, who he is, and who he always will be: our Savior, redeemer and friend. When we encounter Jesus, we learn more about God. In turn, we are inspired to a life of generosity, kindness and love toward our neighbors.
Prayer: Almighty God, help me to see who you are and to live in such a way as to reflect your love throughout my life. Amen.
– Rev. Phil Greenwald, Executive Pastor of Administration