We’ve entered an alternate universe where the TV show Monk is entirely relatable and toilet paper has enormous value. One news source says it’s inevitable – we’re all going to die, but the next says just wash your hands, keep them away from your face, and we’ll be fine.
A friend emailed about a possible tornado, and that night my husband and I experienced our first earthquake. As surreal as it sounds, we heard the earth groan.
Good to know raging storms are not new to our Lord. We can take comfort in the many Biblical examples showing how He quieted them.
Zacchaeus may have created his own storm. No one wants to pay taxes – not even then. But a tax collector for the Roman conquerors? Perhaps that’s why the crowd wouldn’t step aside for this short-statured man.
Did Zacchaeus wrong others? Maybe assess more taxes than he should and pocket the excess? Is that how he acquired his wealth? Let’s let him speak for himself. . .
Zacchaeus dresses the part. After all, he’s a wealthy, upper management government official. He enjoys his job and has a bright, secure future. His shingle says “Pay the Taxes or Else.” Who cares what storms it creates for others? He’s living the dream.
Then Jesus comes to Jericho. Since Zacchaeus can’t see Jesus over the crowd, he climbs a Sycamore tree. Why not? Think of it as a precursor to creative financing. He can conduct business from a high perch. These trees can grow 75’ to 100’ or taller. A Sycamore, known for providing shade with its six-inch leaves, also symbolizes hope and protection.
Did Zacchaeus climb in the tree only out of curiosity, or did he hope to hide from others? From the Lord?
Jesus jumps over these questions. He stops and calls Zacchaeus out of the tree, and the storm intensifies. Can you hear the thunder of whispers rumble through the crowd? Doesn’t He know who that man is? Why go to his house? Isn’t it just like Zacchaeus to hide in a tree?
Why did Zacchaeus offer to give away half of his possessions and pay back four times the amount he’d obtained by cheating? Maybe he was tired of his storm. He wanted to surrender. He wanted peace. Zacchaeus listens to Jesus. The only one who can restore calm in his life.
We can have peace in the most devastating storm because Jesus’s response remains the same.
Today, salvation has come to this house. (Luke 19:9a NIV)
By Amre Cortadino
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