Kat Melocoton | Photo by Benjamin Patin
Do you ever feel small enough to be noticed? Someone also felt that way. His name is Zacchaeus. But who is he? Let me tell you a familiar story in the Bible.
There was a tax collector who lives in Jericho. He was Zacchaeus. This man was not just a simple tax collector, but a chief of all tax collectors in their region.
Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming in their town, so he went out to eagerly know Him. When he saw a large number of people, he climbed up on a tree to desperately seek Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). But I wondered why he needs to perch himself on a tree just to be seen by someone?
While reading the story, I observed two things. Here are the possible reasons for Zacchaeus to feel unnoticed:
1. He is small.
“And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not because he was small in stature.” (Luke 19:3 ESV)
Zacchaeus was a small person. He cannot see over the crowds, that’s why he ran ahead and climbed a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus passing by.
2. He is a sinner.
And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7 ESV)
As I have said before, Zacchaeus is a chief tax collector. And being a tax collector during his days is not a job that anyone will be proud of. People like them were labeled as “sinners” and scorned by their countrymen for a couple of reasons.
In other words, Zacchaeus is considered an outcast and rejected by society. He might think small because he is not good enough and feels unimportant for Jesus to notice.
As I examined the verses, a question came in my mind. Considering that Zacchaeus is a man that is least likely to be noticed, how come Jesus recognized him?
Jesus sees even if how small we think we are.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” — Luke 19:5
Zacchaeus desperately want to see Jesus. However, he doesn’t expect that Jesus would notice him. Little did he know, the Lord already know everything about him even before this life-changing encounter.
Jesus did not just called Zacchaeus but also invites himself to the tax collector’s home. Meanwhile, there are a lot of Pharisees and religious leaders out there who are “holy” and “righteous”, but why Jesus called and ate lunch with a sinner?
Jesus came to seek the lost.
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:9-10
Jesus went to Jericho not only for Zacchaeus, but also for those who are sick, hopeless and lost. He came not to condemn, but to tell that there is hope for them.
Jesus came to seek you.
Likewise, God knows you and everything about you — your sins, flaws or mistakes, yet His love is never dependent on those things. No matter what you did, Jesus loves you. And nothing can ever change His love towards you. Whether you consider your life stained or a mess, the reason why He came down here on earth is to save you.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8
Only His love makes us worth dying for.
You don’t have to prove your worth because someone already worked that for you. It costed His life just to let you know that you are treasured and highly esteemed. No one other than Him can imprint it by dictating who you are. Your value has been ascribed to you on the foot of the cross, where Jesus laid His life for you.
We all have our own reasons why we feel small. As for Zacchaeus, he may not feel good enough to be valued. Yet as he repented from his sins, God cleared the record of all his wrongs. He has been given a new life the moment he turned to Jesus, and so are you today. Besides, the reason why Jesus died on the cross is not dependent whether you are admirable or valueless, a giant or small. Somewhat, it is His love for you that makes you worth dying for.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16