As a daughter of the Most High God, I am called to live on love’s highest plane. I am called to see others through the eyes of Jesus, to love them with the love of Jesus, and to serve them with the servant’s heart of Jesus. As a professing believer of Jesus Christ, when non-believers or other believers look at me and only see the world in its apathetic, lack of commitment, wavering, it’s-all-about-me attitude, what does that tell them about my Jesus? It tells them that Jesus doesn’t care about them. It tells them that Jesus teetered back and forth on His commitment to His purpose on earth. It tells them that Jesus was all about Himself. If this is the impression of Christ I give others when they look at me, then I have no business calling myself a daughter of the King.
Scripture tells us that everywhere Jesus went, He cared about the people He came in contact with. There was no town He entered, no street He travelled down, no synagogue He taught in, no shore He preached on that Jesus didn’t extend a compassionate hand to the crowds of people who were there. He truly cared about everyone.
Remember Zacchaeus? The little guy who climbed up in the tree because he wanted to see Jesus when He passed through town (Luke 19:1-10). Take a journey with me today through the streets of Jericho and let’s see if we can get a glimpse of the compassionate, caring heart of Jesus.
The town of Jericho is all abuzz with the news of a visitor that is soon to be in their midst. People line the streets waiting for His arrival.
Can you see, just around the bend in the road, the dust as it rises from the ground filling the air? Can you hear the mumbling of the crowd get louder and louder as they approach the town limits? There He is. There is Jesus. That is quite a following He has by His side today. It’s a diverse crowd. Some are believers in the Messiah; others are probably just curious about this man who calls Himself the Son of God.
Let’s turn our attention away from the crowds of people following Jesus and look ahead to that sycamore tree just up the road there. See the little guy scrambling to get up the tree before Jesus gets there? That would be the man Zacchaeus. He is the chief tax collector- not just the run-of-the-mill tax collector, but the chief, the big dog, the CEO of the Jericho Tax Company, Inc. Holding this chief tax collector position means that Zacchaeus is the overseer of a large tax district. Tax collecting, although a job, is not a very honorable profession. These men are regarded, for a lack of a better word, to be thieves. I doubt that many people are lined up waiting to hang out and share a meal with him.
Zacchaeus looks settled there on the limb that is stretching itself across the road, doesn’t he? If we listen close enough I bet we can hear his heart racing with anticipation as Jesus steps closer…closer…closer to where he is.
Oh…I wish we were standing on the other side of the tree. I would love to see their gaze lock in on one another for the first time. Better yet, I’d love to see their hearts meet.
A few more steps to go and Jesus will stand right beneath the sycamore tree that Zacchaeus seems to be hanging onto for dear life. Will He pass by? Or, will He stop? I’m sure He has other things to do. He has Passover to get to. Do you think He will stop and preach to the crowds of people that are by His side?
Look. Look!! He stopped.
What is He doing? He’s…He’s looking up…into the tree.
His lips are moving. What did He say? He told Zacchaeus to hurry up and come down because He had to stay at his house?
WHAT!?! WHY!?! Why would Jesus command Zacchaeus to come down? Why would He want to stay at his house? Doesn’t Jesus know that this man is a thief? Doesn’t Jesus know that nobody around here takes up with the likes of his kind?
Why? Why did Jesus stop? Why did He look up in the Sycamore tree that day and command a wee little tax collector to come down and take Him to his house? WHY? Simply because He cared.
Jesus cared. He cared enough to stop. He cared enough to speak. He cared enough to accept Zacchaeus in spite of what he was…in spite of who society had labeled him to be. Jesus cared enough to wrap His arms around Zacchaeus and welcome him joyfully into the family. He cared enough to go to his home and enjoy a meal with him. He cared.
Do we care enough to stop in the midst of our busy schedules and look outside the walls of our homes? Do we care enough to step out of our comfort zones and speak to a total stranger? Do we care enough about people and the condition of their heart to accept them no matter what they look like or smell like, how old they are or what their past might be? Do we care enough to invite them into our lives?
People come in and out of our churches every Sunday. They come in and out of our places of business. They even come in and out of our lives. Do we care enough to do more than just greet them with a nod of the head or a quick smile?
Jesus did- He cared enough about us all even to the point of death.
How much do you care?