Climb A Tree

Written by Timothy

| Climb A Tree |

Time To Climb A Tree
We have touched on the topic of Zacchaeus before, but let us examine this event in greater detail.
Let us discover how to climb a tree in order to obtain a better glimpse of Jesus.
First, let us read the event in the book of Luke, then point out the main things to contemplate.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man, he could not, because of the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

Point 1: Jesus is just passing through.
It is recorded in the book of Luke that Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.
A person does not have all the time in the world to respond to Jesus.
You cannot take your sweet time about it if you want to see who Jesus really is.
Jesus is passing your way once, maybe twice, after that God will leave you to sin and judgment.
There are events in our lives that we will look back upon and have to admit that Jesus was coming our way, but we ignored the moment.
The turmoil in our life slowly diminishes
The thoughts of what we did wrong, even our secret sins soon begin to fade as does the memory of needing God at that time.
Many doomed themselves for a variety of excuses for they failed to give attention to Jesus passing through their lives.
They simply ignored Him or like the large congregation that did go out to see Him, they stayed comfortable by hiding in the crowd with everyone else.
Let it never be said you that you missed the season Jesus was passing your way.
For as Jeremiah declared, they will say:

“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)

Point 2: We are all short when it comes to understanding who Jesus is.
It is said of Zacchaeus that he was a “short-man.”
Zacchaeus, rather than having a short-man attitude that tried to prove he was a bigger man, humbled himself.
Zacchaeus, acknowledging he was short, would do whatever it took to see exactly who Jesus was and where he was going.
We too must admit that we are short-sighted as to who Jesus is, what He demands and where He is heading if we are to have Him take notice of us.
If we desire Jesus to halt His walk and bid us to come down from our tree because He “must” sit down with us for lunch, then we have to first make fools of ourselves by climbing a tree.
This is why the Apostle Paul wrote in the letter to the Corinthians:

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18)

It is recorded that when Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was perched like a bird in a tree, He looked up and said to him:

“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

If you desire Jesus to answer you quickly, in terms of immediately quick, then you too should run ahead and climb a tree.
Point 3: Zacchaeus “ran ahead” of Jesus.
Jesus took note of Zacchaeus because of what he was doing.
God is a God of action and He only notices those that are acting and will take even more action in the future.
As James wrote about all the repentant sinners:

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:22)

Zacchaeus had ran ahead of Jesus and climbed a tree before Jesus got there – now that is a man of action.
Zacchaeus acted upon God’s timing and not when it would have been convenient for him to climb a tree.
How many attempt to go back and climb a tree once they have realized Jesus has passed them by.
How stupid they look and foolish to think that climbing a tree after Jesus had passed by will get the attention of God.
If you want Jesus to respond to you, then you need to figure out which tree you should climb at the right time.

  • Had Zacchaeus chosen a different tree,
    a more seasonal tree he liked,
    a shady religious tree he was comfortable to perch on,
    a family church tree he liked being associated with,
    or a philosophical tree that was on the sunny side,
    or even a branch on his opinion tree, he would have missed Jesus all together.

It is said Zacchaeus picked a specific tree that would give him the best view of Jesus.

So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. Luke 19:4

You too had best run ahead of Jesus when He is coming your way.
Go out of your way with effort to read the Bible, say a prayer or two and unclutter yourself so that nothing will distract you when Jesus comes down your street.
Turn down the music, shut off the television, withdraw from friends and normal activity and get quiet as you might hear Jesus coming toward you.
Get ready now; run ahead and climb the correct tree because it may be the last time Jesus comes your way.
Point 4: When Jesus saw Zacchaeus was serious, He responded.
Many people grumble they prayed to God, but nothing happened.
One reason God did not answer is the simplest reason.
They were not serious enough about seeing who and what Jesus is all about.
Seeing who Jesus is requires forsaking pride and all things concerning your life.
Seeing who Jesus is requires a preparation that demonstrates you are ready and joyfully willing to give all to God.
Jesus said it best in the book of Matthew:

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:4)

And many children think nothing of climbing a tree, so go find a good tree and take a climb like a little child.
Point 5: Ignore the Muttering.
The population of the world is loaded with people who gossip about those seeking God.
Even religious folk in the Christian church mutter against a person showing too much enthusiasm about finding God.
Let us re-read that section in Luke:

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ” Luke 19:7

The crowd of humanity whether in or out of the church contain many a grumbler and mutterer with gossip about what others do and do not do – especially concerning those who are “overzealous for God.”
You will have to ignore them if you expect to see who Jesus is.
Trust me, if you even think, just think, about getting the attention of Jesus these mutterers are going to start making noise.
Remember the scripture that tells us it is a “fact” you will be persecuted or opposed by many on various levels just for wanting to live a godly life.
If this is what happens just for wanting to be godly, think what will happen when you actually start to be godly.

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (2 Timothy 3:12)

Do not believe me?
Try this.
Just spread the word you are thinking about seeking Jesus and see who comes out the woodwork to calm you down.
From those in the church, to family members and friends, they are all going to mutter about your real attempt to get the attention of Jesus.
Really want to shake up the muttering crowd?
Here is a real test. Be warned though it is not for the faint of heart.
Just announce that you went by the web site and have decided next Sunday to contact me, Timothy Williams.
Tell them you are going to contact me over the weekend and ask some really serious questions about Jesus because you really want to give up your life for God and do God’s will – then see what happens.
If you are smart, I bet that suggestion sent a shiver down your spine.
Point 6: Here and Now – what are you prepared to do?
As Jesus sat with Zacchaeus eating lunch He did so quietly.
Jesus as yet, had not preached a lesson at the table.
Jesus had not told Zacchaeus what a sinner he was.
Jesus had not pointed out a single specific sin that Zacchaeus should repent on Yet, Zacchaeus in his joy, repeat, joy stood up and made an announcement.
Zacchaeus stated he would right now, give ½ to the poor and begin right then to seek out those whom he had sinned against.
That he would not just offer token “I am sorry if I sinned against you.”
Not a a single “sorry” came out of Zacchaeus’ mouth
Instead without being told to do so Zacchaeus promised to repay 4 times the amount those he had cheated.

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Luke 19:8

The big question begs itself.
What are you standing up right now and announcing to everyone that you are going to do for righteousness sake?
If we want the salvation of Jesus, then climb a tree.
This short lesson is brough to you by because Jesus said that before you climb a tree, first sit down and count the cost.

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About the author


Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.