Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 19:1-27
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. 2 A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” 6 So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.
7 Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10, Common English Bible).
Graduation season is upon us. Within the next 2-3 weeks, colleges will start graduating their seniors. Within a week or so after that, it will be time for high schools to do the same. That means, it is also time for the relatively new custom of decorating the tops of mortarboards.
When I graduated from high school back in the mid-1970s, I don’t remember anyone decorating a mortarboard. When I graduated from college almost two decades later, there were a few, but I really don’t remember many. When I graduated from seminary six years later it was noticeably more.
A few years ago I attended a college graduation and there was something crazy going on. Almost everyone had something on top of their flat square hat with the tassel hanging off.
I am told that decorating mortarboards started out as a way for parents and others attending graduation to be able to pick their graduate out of the crowd of people all wearing the same color.
It seems to me that these days if I wanted to find my graduate, I would tell them to leave the mortarboard just like they got it. There would be quite a few less to look at.
I don’t think Zacchaeus was necessarily trying to get noticed when he climbed up in the sycamore tree. He just wanted to see Jesus. The Scriptures say he was a short man. He was also, as a Roman tax-collector, a hated man (do you like your friendly neighborhood IRS agent?) that no one was going to go out of their way to help.
So, if one is short and can’t see over the crowd, what do you do? You find a way to make yourself taller. Man lifts and cherry pickers were still 20 or so centuries away from being invented so Zacchaeus had to find another way. Most of us don’t carry ladders in our pockets and even if Zac had a box with him, it still might not have made him tall enough to see Jesus over the crowd. So, being the observant guy he was, he sees the tree and climbs it. I’m not actually sure how he was able to do that with a robe on but, as the old saying goes, “when there is a will there is a way.”
Imagine shock for Zacchaeus and everyone else around him when Jesus stops the procession and tells good old Zac to get out of the tree and then invites himself over for dinner. Some might say it was rude on Jesus’ part but somehow I don’t think Zac is one of them.
How would you feel if all you were trying to do was get a look and then you got so much more? For Zacchaeus, it was enough to get him to turn his life around, to make a change, to see the harm he had caused others. It was enough to get Zac to repent.
So, how far would you go to get noticed by the Master?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved