Suffocated, trapped like a wild animal in the crowd hard-pressed all around,
panic seized the desperate man as he struggled to forge a way through to the
melee's epicenter. An unexplainable compulsion to see the 'Nazarene' had
captured his soul, compelling him to unusual, curious measures.
The entire town had abandoned their morning routines to catch a glimpse of Him,
or better still, to touch Him, if possible. News of His miraculous powers had
gripped the entire region, the stories of wonder on everyone's lips.
He's here, here in Jericho. I want to see Him, the frantic man screamed
inwardly. Wild with irrational desperation, he pleaded, pushed and shoved to
make a way through. Futile! Impossible! Fervent prayer to Yahweh escaped his
quivering lips, "O God, I have to see Him!"
The Sycamore tree! An image of the massive tree beside the road near the
centre of the town's square suddenly appeared in his mind. I could clearly see
Him from that tree! he reasoned.
Angels smiled above, having set the scene to answer the man's prayer.
Breaking away from the crowd, Zacchaeus ran ahead and down into the deserted
town square. Reaching the tree, he effortlessly scaled the ancient tree's broad
trunk, positioning himself in the expansive branches, finding the best vantage
point. I can see the entire roadeverything clearly from here! Satisfied, his
heart swelled with intense anticipation.
The noise of the approaching crowd was deafeninglaughing, pleading, praises-all
mingled together in one corporate plea to the carpenter's son from Nazareth. All
Zacchaeus could hear was his pounding heart thumping wildly in his chest.
Strangely warmed, he tried to fathom his impulsive behaviour as he watched the
crowd draw closer. Leaving my tax booth unattended is one thingclimbing a tree
to see a man is another!? He was unable to explain the sudden longing in his
heart to seek after God, whom he institutively understood was encapsulated in
the Nazarene. Some are calling Him the Son of God, the Messiah! Could He be?
Zacchaeus frantically scanned the approaching crowd. THERE! I can see
Him! Tears brimmed over his eyes and streamed down his full, ruddy cheeks
before rolling down his manicured beard. The sight of Yeshua took away his
breath, his heart pounding harder as He drew nearer. Zacchaeus was irresistibly
drawn to Him by a love and power he had never known existed. I want Him to touch
me. I want to be clean! The intensity of his cry racking his soul.
Suddenly the crowd arrived, gathering under the tree. Held captive by the
Nazarene's demeanor, Zacchaeus absorbed His every detailthe glow of God's glory
on His face, eyes that blazed with love's passion, the authority emanating from
His very being
He is the source of all life! "O God, I have to meet this man." His agonized
prayer rose from the depths of his heart, the sheer force of his yearning
shaking him to the core. Zacchaeus followed Yeshua with his eyes. Suddenly, He
was there, under the tree, the enormity of the Nazarene's personal presence
Without warning, Yeshua turned and lifted his eyes to meet his. Zacchaeus froze,
stupefied. He's looking at me, smiling. He's talking to me "Zacchaeus, I
must come to your house today" Time and eternity stood still in that surreal
moment. HeHe called me by name. How does he know my name? He wants
meHe's calling meHe's offering me His hand, helping me out of the tree
Bewildered, taken by surprise with the abrupt turn of events, Zacchaeus found
himself walking beside the Nazarene. Deaf to the rumblings and insults of the
disapproving crowd, all he could hear echoing through his heart was the
unexpected mentioning of his name, the validating of his existence, by God.
Adapted from Luke 19:1-9.
Karen Elengikal is an inspirational, published writer from Sydney, Australia. Karen's first book 'Kidz Battle Zone' was released in 2007. (see FW Book Review).