Zaccheus was a hated, greedy tax collector who made his wealth by extorting from fellow Jews. One day, he heard that Jesus was passing through his town. He had heard so much about this man and the miraculous things he was doing, he wanted to get a closer look at who he was. Being small in stature, he climbed a tree to see over the crowd surrounding Jesus. Spotting Zaccheus in the tree, Jesus invited himself over to the man’s house.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
— Luke 19:5
Scripture doesn’t say what was going through Zaccheus’ mind, but I imagine that he hopped down from the tree excitedly, pushed his way back through the crowd, and ran home just in time to greet Jesus, out of breath with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.
Although the conversation that ensued is unclear, by the end, Zaccheus had received salvation and proclaimed that he would give half of his goods to the poor, and restore any wrongdoing fourfold. One thing is certain: Jesus sought him out. Sure, Zaccheus climbed the tree, but Jesus invited himself in to the man’s life.
I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we do not seek God. We are too distracted with our lives — Zaccheus by his wealth, some by their jobs, and others by the entanglement of sin. But there is comfort at the end of this story:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”
— Luke 19:10
He begins seeking us before we start trying to find him.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”
— John 15:16
I think this much is made clear in the Garden of Eden. As soon as Adam and Eve committed the first sin, they ran and hid themselves from the presence of God. But God asked, “Where are you?” He knew, yet he sought them.
So where are you? It’s time to climb that tree, and see God face to face.