Friday, March 28, 2014

A SIGHT TO BEHOLD (Luke Chapter 19)

“Zaccheus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he.  He climbed up on a Sycamore tree the Lord he wanted to see.”  Zaccheus “was seeking to see who Jesus was,” but since he was “small of stature” he sought to gain a better vantage point and “climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him” (Luke 19:3-4).

Zaccheus was engaged in a noble pursuit, he wanted to see who Jesus was.  He had no doubt heard the news about Jesus, how He spoke as no man ever spoke and did things that no man had ever done before.  But secondhand information could not satisfy the need that he had in his heart to see Jesus.  He was a chief tax-collector, despised by the Pharisees (Luke 18:11; 19:7) and feared and avoided by everybody else.  He had riches and power, but they came at a cost.  His prosperity was ill-gained (Luke 19:8).  He was likely a lonely man and was most certainly lost.

Jesus, the “friend of sinners” came to save people like Zaccheus (Cf. Luke 19:10)--lost and lonely sinners weighed down by heavy burdens; people dissatisfied in the vanity which is life without God.  Jesus came looking for sinners, Zaccheus climbed a tree looking for the sinner’s friend.  It was a divinely orchestrated meeting which ended in a joyous result (Cf. Luke 19:6-10).

Zaccheus’ endeavor was met with obstacles.  He was small of stature.  Jesus was surrounded by a crowd.  But faith finds a way when there isn’t any apparent.  He climbed a tree.  Certainly out-of-character for a chief tax collector.  One can imagine what others must have thought.  But by faith he was undeterred.    Don’t suppose that Jesus can be seen apart from effort.  There is the need to gain a better vantage point if we are to behold Him.  In sin we are small of stature (Cf. Romans 3:23).  The Spirit alone can raise us to a higher plane where we can behold the glory of the Savior (Cf. John 16:14).

Zaccheus’ faith was richly rewarded.  Jesus saw him in the tree and called on him to come down.  Jesus was to be Zaccheus’ guest!  The Pharisees saw what happened and grumbled, “He has gone in to be a guest of a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7).  Oh happy day when a sinner receives Jesus (John 1:12)!  There can be no more loving friend than He!  He is a forever and faithful companion to those who trust in Him (Hebrews 13:5). 

Zaccheus “was seeking to see who Jesus was,” and we should joyfully follow in his steps.  Men have labored through many an obstacle and hardship to behold lesser things.  Over the course of history we’ve crisscrossed the earth, delved into the depths of the sea, and ventured forth into the far reaches of our solar system.  But no sight in God’s creation can compare with beholding the glory of the Creator Himself!  By a work of the Spirit believing eyes are opened to the glory of Jesus, but only by way of introduction (2 Corinthians 4:6).  By an ongoing work of the Spirit greater clarity of vision is attained (2 Corinthians 3:18).  The time is coming when His own will “see him as he is” (1 John 3:2), “when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).  What a glorious day that will be!

John Owen once wrote, “The beholding of the glory of Christ is one of the greatest privileges and advancements that believers are capable of in this world, or in that which is to come.  By this they are first gradually conformed to it and then fixed in eternal enjoyment of it…this is the life and reward of our souls” (John Owen, “The Glory of Christ).  The glory of Jesus will be a sight to behold!

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