One night this week, my husband let our youngest pick a song for our short worship time before bed. My kids LOVE it when Daddy lets them pick. Out came the googly-eyed kids’ hymnal and we found ourselves singing about wee little Zaccheus. I found myself thinking about the song and the story and how it seemed an odd pick to me for worship time. Riding in the car, yes, praising the Lord, well…
It’s unfortunate we’ve relegated Zaccheus to just for kids section of the Bible. I started thinking of wee little Zach up there in the tree. Wanting to see Jesus from a distance, maybe on his own terms, maybe because he didn’t feel worthy or was afraid about how he’d be received? But I can just see Jesus and the disciples, walking through the crowd, the ones who adored Him, the ones who were suspicious and trying to trap Him, the curious, the gawkers, and those like Zaccheus.
I can see Him, stopping under the tree and looking up, and all the people looking up too–looking at the one who cheated them out of money and worked for the Romans–what could be worse? Were they hoping Jesus would yell at Zaccheus? Call him out on what he’d done? Give him what was coming to him?
I’m sure they were surprised, when after Jesus told Zaccheus to come down, that He invited himself (and I’m sure all his disciples!) to dinner at the tax collector’s house. He’s not content to have an acquaintanceship with us. He wants to dine with us, commune with us. Be with us. Hang out on the porch and talk. He didn’t ask Zaccheus to fix up his life to make it worthy of dining with the king of the universe. Jesus just said “Get down from that tree and let’s go eat!” I love it.
I’m so often like that with Jesus. I want to hang back and watch what He’s doing, wondering if it’s for me as well–but keeping my distance. But I love that He’s not content with that. He doesn’t just want to be distant acquaintances. So from wondering why on earth we were singing about Zaccheus to feeling so humbled that the same God who said “Let there be light,” who parted the Red Sea, who walked in the furnace with the boys in Babylon, who raised Lazarus from the dead and is sitting at the right hand of the Father wants to be with me, on purpose. He want me to know Him as much as He knows me. Wow.