A Sight to Behold

Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-10

Remember the kid’s chorus? “Zacchaeus 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.”  Zacchaeus “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).

Zacchaeus was engaged in a noble pursuit.  He had no doubt heard the news about Jesus, how He spoke as no man ever spoke and did things no man had ever done before.  Yet secondhand information was not enough for him.  That little fellow had to see Jesus for himself.  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 Zacchaeus (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–Zacchaeus climbed a tree looking for the sinner’s friend.  It was a divinely orchestrated meeting which ended in a joyous result (Luke 19:6-10).

Zacchaeus’ endeavor was met with obstacles.  He was small in stature.  Jesus was surrounded by a crowd.  Yet 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 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 all small in stature (Romans 3:23).  The Spirit alone can raise us up to a higher plane from which we can behold the glory of the Savior (John 16:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Zacchaeus’ faith was richly rewarded.  Jesus saw him in the tree and called on him to come down.  Jesus was to be Zacchaeus’ 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). 

Zacchaeus “was seeking to see who Jesus was” and we should joyfully follow in his steps.  Men labor through incredible obstacles and severe hardships 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.  Yet 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!

“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


When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore
Will through the ages be glory for me.

O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me;
When by His grace I shall look at His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

When by the gift of His infinite grace,
I am accorded in heaven a place,
Just to be there and to look on His face
Will through the ages be glory for me. [Refrain]

Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me will flow;
Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know,
Will through the ages be glory for me. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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