Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Crowding out Jesus

By sioda on MorgueFile
Even when Jesus was “just passing through” crowds gathered, because his reputation went before him.  People heard about his teachings and his healings and other miracles and wanted to see for themselves.

In Luke 19:1-10 we learn that Zacchaeus was a “chief tax collector”, a motley lot known for their dishonesty, extortion, and violence. When he was told Jesus was coming, he ran outside to catch a glimpse of the man he had heard so much about.

However, Zacchaeus discovered a throng of others ahead of him. Crowds were an unfriendly place for tax collectors; people often pushed and shoved and poked these unpopular folks as they passed through.  Though Zacchaeus tried, he was too short and couldn’t see Jesus.

Sometimes we can’t see Jesus either—not because of a physical crowd of people blocking our way, but because something within us or around us keeps us from getting close to Him.

Many things can separate us from Jesus:

  • pride
  • friendships or other relationships
  • our need to be in control
  • possessions
  • sins we are still holding onto or have committed in the past
  • wrong priorities, wanting other things more than a relationship with Christ
  • lack of commitment
  • indifference
  • unforgiveness on our part
  • fear
  • pre-conceived ideas

Zacchaeus skirted the crowd, ran ahead, and climbed a tree so he could see—not a very dignified picture for a tax collector accustomed to having servants, nice possessions, and getting what he wanted. However, Zacchaeus did what he had to do in order to see Jesus.

Why was seeing Jesus so important to Zacchaeus? After all, he was rich. He had a job and a home.  But he obviously felt drawn to Jesus.  He must have still had some unfulfilled need that he felt Jesus could satisfy.

Jesus knew what was in Zacchaeus heart.  We don’t hear of Zacchaeus praying a certain prayer, but for a tax collector to offer to give away half his belongings reflected a changed heart.

Zacchaeus’ story raises a few thought-provoking questions:

  1. What keeps me from connecting with Jesus?
  2. How important is it to me to stay connected?
  3. Does my life reflect a changed heart?
  4. What is God calling me to give up for Him?

©2013 Pamela D. Williams