Do We Watch Jesus from a Distance?

November 4, 2022  •   LPi

Zacchaeus in the tree talking to Jesus

It seems to me that Zacchaeus may have gotten more than he bargained for when he scaled that sycamore tree.

We can only speculate as to what the original intentions of the wealthy tax collector were. We know he wanted to see Jesus, of course — but what does that mean? Was he simply curious about this famous and controversial man? Was he moved by what he heard of Jesus’ teachings? Was he trying to catch a glimpse, or to get close?

Whatever his initial motivations, we can safely assume he did not expect Jesus to look up and say: “Get down. I am coming to your house today.”

I often find myself taking the same posture as Zacchaeus in the tree. Perhaps I have a problem I’m wrestling with or a personal fault I need to overcome. At times I know I need to give of myself in ways that scare me. Whatever it is, I am watching Jesus from a distance. I am removed. Because I worry that when he gets close, he will get in my space. He will see whatever it is I don’t want to deal with or tackle.

I need to remember that Jesus does not come to condemn, but to assist. It is God’s desire to make us “worthy of His calling.” To do that, He knows we need help. He knows we need Him in our space.

I’ll say this for Zacchaeus — he was ready. He jumped right down, acknowledged what he had to be ashamed of, and vowed to do better. He brought Jesus home.

May we all have that same courage.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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