Read: Luke 19:1-10
Tax collectors have never been popular. In Jesus’ day, Jews who collected taxes for the Roman government were seen as traitors and corrupt by their brethren. Zacchaeus was one such tax collector. He was small in physical stature, and smaller in the eyes of his brethren because of his despicable job. However, Jesus saw in Zacchaeus what other people missed: a curiosity for the things of God.
J. C. Ryle said God often works in small ways to accomplish great things. He said, “The ways by which the Holy Spirit leads men and women to Christ are wonderful and mysterious. He is often beginning in a heart a work which shall stand for eternity, when an onlooker observes nothing remarkable. In every work, there must be a beginning, and in spiritual work that beginning is often very small. Do we see a careless brother coming to church and listening to the gospel after a long indifference? When we see such things, let us remember Zacchaeus. Let us not look coldly on such a person because his motives are at present very poor and questionable. It is far better to hear the gospel out of curiosity than not to hear it at all. Our brother is with Zacchaeus in the tree! Who can tell but that he may one day receive Christ as joyfully?”
It may be difficult to see how a man can be saved by climbing a tree. That is because you see a man in a tree, but God sees a man lost and searching. Before you write off a Zacchaeus near you, take another look through the eyes of Jesus. Those whom the world labels “insignificant” have a way of appearing much larger when seen from God’s perspective.