Jesus met all sorts of men and women. In fact, a study of his disciples reveals an eclectic band of guys who probably had to work to find common ground for discussion purposes. But one of the most famous men Jesus met was Zaccheus, the short man who climbed up in the sycamore tree to see Jesus.
My guess is that it was not that unusual for Jesus to see people up in trees who were trying to catch a glimpse of Him. There are a number of instances recorded in scripture where large crowds gathered to see Him. In fact, that is what Jesus was doing in Peter’s aforementioned boat. The crowd was pushing Him into the sea. Out of self-preservation He climbed into the boat to speak.
But Jesus took notice of this particular man in the tree. I would venture to say that Zaccheus was up in the tree not only literally, but also figuratively. Although he was wealthy and had the best of everything money could buy, he had no friends, no peace, and no satisfaction. He had gotten ahead by stepping on people, defrauding them, and taking advantage of them through tax loopholes. He was considered by most to be a “low life” and a “sinner.”
Yet Jesus, representing the heart of His Father, tracked Zaccheus right to the base of the tree. Just think of all the things He could have said to Zack. He could have simply inquired what he was doing up there, or remarked about how short he was. He could have offered him a better seat, a backstage pass, a special audience, a confrontation, rebuke, lecture, or sermon. Instead, He asked to meet him where he lived. “Hey, Zaccheus! Please come down. I’d like to have lunch with you at your place.”
In Jesus’ mind, apparently it wasn’t enough to use Peter’s boat as a pulpit or pursue Zaccheus to the base of the tree. It wasn’t enough that both had heard Him deliver a fine sermon. He wanted to meet them at a place where they could feel comfortable because He had important business to talk over with them. They were on His heart and He wanted to build a vibrant relationship with them. About this, He felt passionate.
If you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen God, and vice versa. When it comes to sharing His heart, our Father will go anywhere and do anything to follow through—even to a sinking, stinking boat full of fish and the base of a sycamore tree.
The fish and the tree are incidental to His sharing His heart. His real concern is the fisherman and the tree climber.
Finally, will God do for me what He did for Peter and Zaccheus?