July 18, 2018. A single incident, one opportunity, and a single tree played essential roles in the salvation of Zacchaeus. A wealthy tax collector, Zacchaeus, wanted to see Jesus so badly that he climbs a tree to get a better view of Jesus as He passed through Jericho.

When Jesus saw Zacchaeus, He did not see a wealthy man in a tree; He saw a poor man in need of a savior. He said to the tax collector, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  Jesus invites Himself to the house of a sinner. Before leaving Zacchaeus’ house, Jesus declares, “Today salvation has come to this house (vs. 9a).”

(Luke 19:1-10)

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.

2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short, he could not see over the crowd.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him since Jesus was coming that way.

Sycamore-fig tree. In ancient times, the poor ate the fig-like fruit of this tree.                        

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

6 So he came down at once and welcomed Him gladly.

Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore fig-tree to see Jesus. Jesus looks up and sees Zacchaeus in the tree. Zacchaeus is doing what he needed to do, and Jesus doing what He came to do: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (vs. 10).” In his first letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15b). Are you saved?

Are you a tree that welcomes the outcasts—the short, the tall, the young the old, the educated, the uneducated, people like you people, different than you? Are you the tree that provides a platform for people to meet Jesus?

Martin Luther said of the Good News, “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” There’s a favorite Chinese proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” What spiritual trees are you planting today?