So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. Luke 19:4
1995. World Youth Day in Manila. We were camped near Roxas Boulevard when sirens came aloud signaling that Pope John Paul II is about to pass. We ran and took our chances into the thick population trying to catch a glimpse of the man. Nina, a petite sister with a big heart in Christ, was obviously vertically challenged and was having difficulty with the people pushing and pulling off the road. So, Nina climbed a human tree who allowed her to sit on his shoulders for her to take a wide peek at the Pope. As the Catholic church head passed by, Nina enjoyed the good scene. Maybe he waved at her but surely she waved at him.
Jesus did not only wave at him, Jesus asked Zacchaeus for him to be invited to his home.
Before that, Zacchaeus had to climb a tree. He, too, was vertically challenged. He, too, was having hard time with the thick crowd. However, he did not want for this opportunity to pass by to see Jesus who was passing by. So, he looked around. He looked around and thought what can I do to see him? He saw a tree standing by, which he quickly climbed. Zacchaeus stayed there for some time, until Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” (v. 5). And the rest is history.
It was a cameo role in a movie. In layman’s term, the tree was an extra, a bit player. What we usually remember about this story from Luke are Jesus, Zacchaeus and the Pharisees who questioned the Jesus’ visitation at Zacchaeus’ home. Yet, Jesus would not have looked up at Zacchaeus if not for the tree and Zacchaeus would not have seen Jesus if not for the tree. The tree was the bridge for Jesus to meet Zacchaeus. The tree was a channel for the Son to meet the sinner. The tree was a vessel of grace for the Giver and the receiver.
Can you be a tree?
- A visible tree who people will always see and climb for them to grab the chance to see Jesus.
- A humble tree who will allow others to be above himself for them to see the grace of God.
- A constant tree who will be ready and be dependable for sinners to see salvation.
- A hospitable tree who will welcome anyone who wants to take shelter and refuge in Christ.
- An encouraging tree who will lift up the spirits of the small and the fervor of the forgotten.
- A tree who will stand day by day for Jesus and for somebody to stand for Jesus.
- A tree whose strength is from Jesus so he can able to carry the weight and burden of others.
- A tree who will stay at the background so Jesus may take the center stage of the story.
The world is full of small people trying to see our big God. Be a tree.
Those who seek him more, climb the sycamore; so for those who seek him more, be the sycamore.