In terms of stories that are easy to remember and fun to tell to little children, the account of Zacchaeus meeting Jesus is one that stands out. (You can read the entire account in Luke 19:1-10.)
Maybe this story is well-liked because kids know what it’s like to be short and have trouble seeing things, or maybe they appreciate it because they like to climb trees. Even for adults, the fact that Jesus was willing to spend time with someone who was unpopular gives hope to all of us when we are lonely or feel rejected by the world.
Like many of us, Zacchaeus was going through life with a couple of strikes against him. Between his height and his occupation, there were some hurdles limiting what he could easily accomplish, whether in seeing Jesus or in spending time with other religious leaders of that day.
However, Zacchaeus had one key trait, which transformed his life that day:
He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.
Luke 19:3 NIV
Did you see that? Not that he was short, but rather that “He wanted to see who Jesus was“. It’s easy to gloss over this point in the story, as we jump ahead to the part with the tree-climbing. However, if Zacchaeus didn’t actually have a desire to see Jesus, he could have remained at home that day, wandered in the marketplace, or perhaps collected money at a tax booth.
Sometimes, our lives need a change. We sense that we’re in a rut, or the weight of life’s challenges is keeping us from moving forward. We are stuck, and despite being as busy as ever, we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
Jesus offers a better life, giving us direction to fulfill our purpose: not just in our own lives, but as part of an amazing, interconnected plan for all humankind. This is His Kingdom, and it’s a great place to be. The first step towards this new life, though, might simply be deciding that we want to learn more about Jesus. After all, why would we seek to learn more about Him if we didn’t want to? Admittedly, God sometimes makes His points dramatically, even when we don’t want to listen, but history confirms that voluntarily seeking Him out can be a lot less trouble.
Jesus explained that those who seek will be rewarded with finding:
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:10 NIV
So, if you want to know more about Jesus, I encourage you to read the entire book of Luke (click here to start with the first chapter of Luke, and keep going). This is one of several accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings sometimes called the Gospels (the “good news”!). Each of these – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – describe Jesus’ ministry from different points of view, but all of them are aligned and pointing to the same Savior.
From there, I encourage you to keep reading the Bible. There’s so much that it has to say, not only for those who want to see Jesus, but also for long-time readers who keep discovering new lessons as they re-read it time after time.
At the same time, seek out a trusted friend or pastor who has been learning about Jesus for a while, and who can answer your questions by referring you to other parts of the Bible. There are tons of other resources (including this site) that are meant to teach us more about Jesus and God’s plan, but I encourage you to always check what you read (and hear) directly against what the Bible says.
However, like Zacchaeus, just having a desire to learn more about Jesus won’t change your life. He could have wanted to learn about Jesus, but still stayed home that day. What changed Zacchaeus’s life was that he took action and did something about it, and being with Jesus changed him. May each of us cultivate an interest in learning more about Jesus, and then actually take action: not only to learn more, but also to follow His teachings once we have gotten to know Him. That is where positive change takes place!
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.