Jesus noticed the woman who endured physical infirmity for many years. He saw her, acknowledged her value and she was healed. Jesus does the exceptional all the time by noticing those who are notoriously overlooked — women, children, slaves, sinners, diseased — the outcasts of society.
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”Luke 19:1-8
Several noteworthy elements stand out to me in this account. First, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus but there is no record that he cried out to him or attempted to call attention to himself; he just wanted to observe Jesus walking past. And he was willing to do whatever it took to put himself in a position to do that. Imagine how humiliating it might have been to climb a tree to see Jesus. Perhaps it is just me, but that is a bold move! Overcoming my physical limitations to accomplish something. Impressive!
Secondly, Jesus called him by name! Jesus knew him, he saw him in the tree, he called out to him. There is nothing quite as precious or personal as my name. To be called by name, especially unexpectedly, conveys value, worth and dignity. While the people expected only treachery from Zacchaues, Jesus knew something more. He knew that, more than anything, Zacchaeus needed to be seen. In response to Jesus’ acknowledgement, he turned his life around and made restitution for any taxes collected deceitfully.
Sometimes it takes one person to see my potential. This man was an outcast because he collected taxes. His occupation also made him rich at the expense of his fellow villagers. As was his custom, Jesus looked beyond the exterior and saw the heart. He dealt justly with Zaccheaus and opened his eyes to a new way of living.
Have you given up? Has your life gone in a direction you never expected and, perhaps, don’t even like? What are you willing to do so that you might “see” Jesus? Are you willing to “make a fool of yourself” in order to position yourself to encounter Jesus? He sees you. He knows your name. He wants to have dinner with you tonight and he doesn’t care what anyone else says about it!
What will you do?