Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus….He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him…. Luke 19:1-4
One of our young grandsons has an obsession with “photo bombing.” He always finds a way to sneak into a photo opportunity without being detected. In lots of my pictures, somewhere in the background, a little face is visible grinning from ear to ear. It’s like a game to this child, to see if he can get away with “stealing the limelight” without getting caught.
Zacchaeus was trying not to be noticed as Jesus passed through Jericho. The small man was a chief tax collector, hated and feared by the people. He was not a follower of Jesus because that was not appropriate for a Jewish man who worked for the occupying Roman forces. Jesus had already stirred up enough trouble with the Romans. Perhaps Zacchaeus heard about a man claiming to be the Son of God healing the sick and changing people’s lives, about His mission of peace and a new way to fulfill the will of God. Yes, little Zacchaeus wanted to see this Jesus—but he didn’t want to be seen by anyone else!
As usual, Jesus had a surprise up the sleeve of His robe. He already knew exactly where the little man was hiding, and He spoke right to him in that sycamore tree. “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today,” He said (Luke 19:5). Zacchaeus must have been stunned that a Man of peace like Jesus wanted to come to his house. But I imagine the Christ looked at him the same way He looked at all those He met, with compassion and love in His gentle eyes. And suddenly, Zacchaeus was convinced he wanted to be in that group with Jesus, not lurking around “photo bombing” this sacred setting. How would you feel if Jesus asked you to allow Him into your home? He does, each day.
Lord Jesus, I don’t want to be in the shadows when You come looking for me! Amen