This time we look at the effect of a touch from Jesus on the life of Zacchaeus. You can
read the story in Luke 19 v 1 – 10.
No Hiding Place
With a look of determination on his face, Zacchaeus hurried along the tree lined road.
As crowds gathered around him, he searched for the right place, knowing his height
would give him little chance of seeing Jesus.
Zacchaeus was known for his resourcefulness. He was a wealthy man at the top of his
profession and he’d had to find plenty of creative solutions to get there. As chief tax
collector he was important if not popular.
Zacchaeus knew that Jesus was passing through Jericho and he wanted to see him. He
scanned the trees close to the road and spotted the perfect one. It was easy to climb
with plenty of leafy cover; he didn’t like the thought of being stared at. He positioned
himself under the curtain of leaves. His idea was to remain out of sight. All eyes would
be on the road.
Zacchaeus wondered if he might see something spectacular; a healing maybe, or a
miracle. He asked himself what sort of man Jesus was, what would it be like to be one of
his friends? Zacchaeus didn’t have much experience of friendship; his life was a lonely
one in many ways.
Noise from the crowd indicated that Jesus was approaching and brought Zacchaeus back
to the moment. He looked ahead to where he could make out the focus of the crowd’s
attention: a group of men walking together down the road. Which one was Jesus? As
they approached it became clear. He was the one interacting with the crowd, touching
people, answering questions, smiling. Zacchaeus congratulated himself on finding such
a good vantage point, no one had even noticed he was there.
Then Jesus stopped. He looked up. The crowd followed his gaze until it felt like every
eye was on Zacchaeus. One or two people recognised him and started to mutter.
Jesus’ reaction was unexpected.
‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately, I must stay at your house today.’
He clambered down as quickly as he could, he could hardly believe that Jesus had called
him, a despised tax collector! Jesus, who was just passing through, had decided to
interrupt his journey and come and stay. The grumbles and muttering of the crowd
passed over his head. Jesus wanted to spend time with him!
Zacchaeus set out to be an observer, but Jesus had other plans. He touched his life,
showing him things that were more important than money. Zacchaeus knew in his heart
some of the changes he needed to make. As he walked home with Jesus by his side he
felt six feet tall.