Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NKJV)
There’s something about that crowd!
I recently delivered a Sunday Sermon in Florida at Heaven on Earth Church about the woman that ardently pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus. In the book of Luke, there is another “crowd type” situation. A crowd refers to a large number of persons gathered closely together; throng; any group or set of persons with something in common; audience; common people; or the masses. This is where Zacchaeus found himself when Jesus was passing by and stood wondering if Jesus would take notice. Don’t you ever wonder if God ever notices you? To notice is to make observation, perception, attention, or heed; it is interested or favorable attention; appraisal, or evaluation. There is good news for you… God Notices You!!!
In the midst of multitudes, millions and billions of people, what makes your need so special. Because He loves all His children He notices it all! As humans, how much do we like to be noticed in life? How much does it mean to actually matter? How much does it mean to have an importance, recognition or a priority? How does Jesus notice this man and all of a sudden look up? Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore tree and these trees are typically filled with many large leaves. Yet, He took notice of this man because he went a little higher. Sometimes we have to be persistent when it comes to things of God. This man didn’t allow his circumstance to get in the way of seeing Jesus. Much like the woman with the flow of blood she pressed through the crowd and this man climbed above the crowd. Seems like Jesus takes a particular interest in the one left out! The one that doesn’t really fit in. The one that seems like an outcast, a nobody or the odd ball in the bunch. This is the one that He notices more.
The text in Luke indicates that Zacchaeus had a natural limitation. He was short. What is your natural limitation? Do you think you’re too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too light, too dark, any physical imbalance or that someone else looks better than you? Do you think your appearance makes a difference? None of these natural limitations prohibit the love of God or the concern that God has for you. Look how He saw His servants as it is written in the scriptures:
What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
(Psalms 8:4-5 NKJV)
But the story doesn’t end by the sycamore tree for Zacchaeus, now Jesus wants to stay at his house and bring the good news of salvation. Now everyone in Zacchaeus’ family reaps the benefit for his persistence by just getting a look at Jesus passing by. Passing by turned into staying over and staying over turning into starting over. What a victory for him and so he rejoiced. A fresh start for a whole family…a new beginning and a new victory. A place of repair, restoration and renewal. Many times people quit so soon based on limitations and confess, “This is it! It’s over! There is nothing else we can do!” This is exactly the place where God comes in and meets us. He saves us.
Never look down on yourself or your situation. We all carry something naturally different about us and that doesn’t make us any less important in the eyes of God and in the eyes of those that really care about us. That is the thing called love. No crowd could separate, stop or hinder that love. With God there are NO limitations. The same way He took notice of a short man in a tree is the same way He will see you. It will be the same way that He felt a woman touch the edge of His clothing in the midst of being thronged. No matter how little the reach may be, that little is HUGE in the eyes of God. He notices you through the crowd…your individuality, your uniqueness, your gifts and talents…He notices everything about you and He notices everything you do.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
You will never be forgotten by God. You are not lost. You are not alone. You will never go unnoticed. You will never go overlooked.
You are important!
You are valued!
You are different!
Through any crowd…you are beautiful in the eyes of God!