‘re-thinking’ some of the parables No. 4
Zacchæus - short of the full stature
LUKE 19:1-10. And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And behold, there was a man named Zacchæus s, which was chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was of little stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see Him: for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to that place, He looked up and saw him, and said unto him, ‘Zacchæus, make haste and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste and came down and received Him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, ‘That He was gone to be guest with a man that was a sinner. And Zacchæus stood and said unto the Lord; ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.’ And Jesus said unto him: ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.’
Jesus didn’t stay in Jericho (the place of yesterday’s thinking, yesterday’s manna, and traditional ways...remember how God removed the walls of Jericho that had kept those people separated from 'God’s people who had the Word of the Lord') because God had purposed an encounter with Zacchæus. The folk around this man really believed that he was someone great and it appeared, as we say, that " he had it all together"...a leader in his field; he was "number one" man in the tax-collecting system of the hour; you know, a tax collector who with great authority, relieves others of what they have acquired through hard work so that their position might be maintained!
Such were those whom he led in that ‘association’ but in Zacchæus, the very nature of his name declares that there was a pure, transparent desire for LIFE. He sought for reality, for truth which he believed was only to be found in Jesus...he just had to see this Jesus...Who He was...what was He like; How did He walk? What did He say? Oh it went on and on; such a lack in his life, but right then he became determined to find out the answers, come what may!
STILL A CHILD . . . SPIRITUALLY!
Being of the seed of Abraham, he did have a relationship with his God, but he had not grown very much; his 'stature' even showed that he was far short of the full stature of Christ and his thinking was so traditional that he had just not grown spiritually; he didn’t even know the Word which said that "as a man thinks so is he" (Proverbs 23:7), so his stunted growth was a picture of his stunted spiritual thinking.
He thought 'I have got to do something about this!'. When he heard that Jesus was not far away, he ran and climbed up the first tree that he could get up easily. Oh yes, we do the same thing and climb up into the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is just a sycomore fig tree...it produces its fruit before any other fig tree just like our natural thinking that so easily comes before the mind of Christ in us. Humans didn’t usually eat these figs. They were fed to animals to sustain their beast nature or natural way of life.
THE ‘TREE OF LIFE’ ARRIVES
Then Jesus arrived by Divine appointment under the tree where our friend was hiding and commanded Zacchæus to leave the place of his false security. He came down out of the tree of his choice and found himself face to face with an entirely different tree, THE TREE OF LIFE, JESUS HIMSELF. Jesus, The Living Word, was about to come into his house, his mind!
Zacchæus, with his desire that was pure, clean and transparent for reality, was used to making haste. He was probably still getting his breath back after running ahead of Jesus, so he was very quick to obey the words from Jesus. He left that ‘old’ tree thinking and allowed ‘the Mind of Christ’ to come into the forefront of his life.
JESUS REALLY IS ‘LORD OF ALL’
The people around had already paid their tax-tithes to "The Zacchæus Evangelistic Association" making sure that they got their ‘tax-receipts’ accordingly! They found it hard to accept that someone like Zacchæus would do something different from the ‘status-quo’ of traditional expectation, so they openly criticized "this sinner". The cry of Zacchæus’s heart was met immediately; he no longer looked to establish his security in money and things. Why? Well, he had come into an awareness that Jesus really was his Lord...Lord of his life...ALL OF IT! What he owned really wasn’t his anymore! His duty of tithing seemed to get swallowed up in the presence of Jesus... he was going to be led by the Holy Spirit in what he did with his money. He was also convicted about how he had selfishly taken-in the word and not even shared 10% of it; but now he would 'gossip the gospel' and share the Word with his friends and acquaintances four times over if needs be!’ Jesus didn’t tell him to do it, it was simply because, being close to Jesus Christ, He had that effect on him.
Salvation, which in the Greek simply means deliverance, rescue and safety, had come to his thinking-house. For us it is a new awareness of the will of God; that still small voice of the Spirit within declaring God’s purposes for each of us, as Jesus makes intercession of such thoughts TOWARDS us!
When we are continually aware of the mind (thoughts) of Christ operating in us, the result will be very different from our previous hiding in our tree of the knowledge of good (and evil). The wrong tree that produces the wrong fruit has been our security far too long whereby we speak and act from what we are familiar with instead of ‘being swift to hear (Him) and slow to speak’. . . the marks of being teachable! The Lord today is seeking that which is lost, namely HIS MIND IN HIS PEOPLE.
Let us cultivate an expectation of hearing and knowing THE MASTER’s VOICE. Let us each one have our hiding place in the TREE OF LIFE from whence we shall move and have our being. Amen.