The Winter Olympics are here! If you’ve been following our Facebook page, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Winter Olympics. They’ve got me thinking… What would my Olympic sport be? I would love to be a snowboarder, but I don’t know how to snowboard. In fact, I’m not very athletic at all. However, I do love to climb trees. Granted, this has become difficult to near impossible with my illness, but back in the day, I used to be a great tree climber – the taller the tree, the better. I loved the feeling of being on top of the world (I think that’s why I have the secret desire to be a snowboarder – they get to fly)!
That settles it. If the Olympic sport “tree climbing” existed when I was a kid, that’s a sport I could have dedicated my life to. I could have got the best training, climbed the most impressive trees, and rocked that sport! Alas, it didn’t exist and so my tree climbing days were for my own personal enjoyment, and enjoy them I did! I meet God in trees. Really, some of my best talks with God have happened from the branches of a tree. If trees could talk, I’d be in trouble!
I’m not the only one who met God in a tree. His name was Zacchaeus. He lived while Jesus was here on earth and he, too, met Jesus in a tree. Luke 19:1-10 (NLT) tells us:
Jesus entered Jericho and made His way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” He said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
1) Zacchaeus wasn’t the most popular guy in town. In fact, he was a despised tax collector – a traitor.
2) Zacchaeus wanted to get a look at Jesus. News of Jesus spread like wildfire, and Zacchaeus was curious. He was drawn to the person of Jesus.
3) Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a tree so he could see. He didn’t walk; he ran. He was desperate to see Jesus.
4) Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. He knew who he was, and He still wanted to spend time with him. He still sought him out and loved him.
5) “Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” Zacchaeus could have told Jesus no. He could have stayed in the tree and stared at him in shock. He could have thought himself too bad of a person to have Jesus over. Yet he didn’t do any of these things. Instead, he immediately took Jesus up on His invitation and did so with “great excitement and joy.”
6) Zacchaeus’ life was transformed. He was a changed man from the inside out. He went from “notorious sinner” to “true son of Abraham” in a moment.
So what does Zacchaeus’ life have to do with yours? Well, are you someone who has been hurt by life and the cards you’ve been dealt? Do people not like or understand you? Have life’s circumstances made you do things you aren’t proud of? Are you, like Zacchaeus, watching Jesus from afar? Do you feel lost?
If so, today is your day, for Jesus came to “seek and save those who are lost.” Jesus sees you. He is calling you by name: “I must be a guest in your home today!” In fact, Jesus doesn’t just want to come to your home; He wants to make His home in you. He wants to dwell inside you, save you, and transform your life. He wants to change you from the inside out. What will you do? Will you accept His invitation with excitement and joy? Please do! You won’t regret it. Today is the first day of the rest of your life!
“…But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God Himself put it this way: ‘I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.’” – 2 Corinthians 6:16, MSG