And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the 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 little of stature. - Luke 19:1-3
Despite his being a "bad guy," Zaccheus had an honest desire to see Jesus. No doubt, he had heard the tales of this great Teacher who performed miracles and forgave sins. And even though he was rich, Zaccheus knew that something was missing. . .and that something was Jesus. Unfortunately, there were a couple of things preventing him from reaching his goal--Jesus.
1) The people -- The passage tells us that he sought to see Jesus but couldn't because of the number of people in the way. To use the word "crowd" would be an understatement. There were people everywhere, and everyone wanted to get close to Jesus.
Sometimes, people can prevent us from reaching Jesus as well. It could be that the people of the world are preventing us from reaching out by convincing us that life is too good to get saved. Or perhaps, it's our love for someone that reaches beyond the limits of what is good and sets that person up as a god in our eyes. Or maybe, people in general have let us down, and because of our track record of disappointment, we're afraid to reach out and trust that Jesus might be different. Yes, people can certainly get in the way of our reaching Jesus.
2) The predicament -- The problem with the people was bad enough, but on top of that, poor Zaccheus was short. Now, you tall people may not understand this, but take it from those of us who are vertically-challenged, it's tough being short. No matter where we sit in the theater, the person in front of us always blocks our view. We miss out on so many things because we simply can't see. And the Bible says that a man can't add to his stature, so, like Zaccheus, we're stuck with a situation that we simply can't do anything about.
We've all been there, haven't we? We know what needs to be done, but we don't have the time, tools, energy or financial means to see it through. And sometimes, those predicaments that should drive us into the arms of our Father are the very things that prevent us from reaching out to Him. We're distracted. We're frustrated. And in the midst of our troubles, that's all we can see. Not only are we not reaching out to Christ, but we've completely lost sight of Him.
In times like this, we need to pull "a Zaccheus" and rise above the circumstances. Think about it. Zaccheus could have given up and gone home. He had tried and failed. Well, that's life, right? Wrong! Trying and failing are part of the process of life, but it shouldn't end there. What's the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!" There's wisdom in that old cliche.
Zaccheus had determined in his heart that, one way or another, he was going to get to Jesus. He wasn't distracted by the people or the predicament. He was wise enough, in this moment of determination, to look past the problems and look for a solution. And he spotted one--a tree. Don't you imagine it was quite a sight to see a well-dressed, grown man climbing a tree? But Zaccheus didn't care. He needed something more than the people's approval. He needed a Savior!
And so do we. So, I ask you today, what is preventing you from reaching Jesus?