Thursday, November 01, 2012

Nov 1, 2012 … Up A Tree, Seeking Jesus

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 306

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Luke, Chapters 19 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: Luke 19: 1-5 : [NLT] … { From Luke 19: 1-10 is a story about Jesus’ love for sinners found only in Luke’s gospel account, … the story of Zacchaeus, the corrupt tax-collector, who had to climb a tree to seek out and see Jesus as He came into Jericho where Zacchaeus lived.}  ...
1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.  2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business, and he had become very rich. 3He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there. 5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said.Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today.”

My Journal for Today: Today, this first day of November, I’m into the 19th Chapter of Luke; and there are several accounts about Jesus in this chapter which are worthy of journaling, … such as the parable of The Ten Servants and Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem where He wept over the city prior to entry. Oh yeah, … and there is the story about how Jesus cleared the Temple of wicked merchants for the second time. Any and all of those accounts are meat for anyone’s meditation and journaling.

However, at the outset of Luke 19 is a story found only in Luke’s gospel account; and it’s a story which has personal appeal to me from a few angles. And you probably know this is the story of the hated tax collector, Zacchaeus, who, when Jesus came into this sinner-man’s home town of Jericho before going to Jerusalem and to the cross, Zacchaeus had to climb up a Sycamore tree to seek out and see this Man people were touting as “The Messiah.”

Above, you see a picture which I took from our tour bus as we entered Jericho in 2009, touring that area of the Holy Land; and to the right in the picture you see a large Sycamore tree which archeological botanists are certain is the very tree Zacchaeus scaled to see Jesus. First of all, the tree is well over 2000 years old; and it’s on the only street (which was the only road into Jericho at the time of Jesus). And finally, it’s the only Sycamore tree in the area. Yes, it is possible that there might have been another sycamore tree along that road in Jesus’ time; but it’s interesting to see this one-and-only ancient sycamore tree is still living today along the only road Jesus would have used to enter Jericho on that day the Lord encountered the little sinner who shinnied up a tree to see Jesus.

But beyond having seen this tree in Jericho, the story is personal to me because I so identify with Zacchaeus. At one time in my life I was a lost sinner like Zacchaeus, deeply embroiled in a life-style of sinful living which was deserving only of death; and like Zacchaeus, Jesus walked into my life one day; and He stopped to have a personal encounter with me. And also like the little tax collector, Jesus didn’t see the hateful sin in my life, He loved me enough to stop on that day in April 13th of 1983 and call me down out of my tree (i.e., my lifestyle of sinfulness). And like Zacchaeus on that day after he dined with Jesus, by letting Jesus into our lives, neither Zacchaeus or Bill Berry would ever be the same.

Because, like Zacchaeus, I repented of my sin; and after coming down out of my tree in 1983, I began to pursue righteousness and a relationship with Christ. The little tax collector, after inviting Jesus into his life, began to make decisions to make His life right in the eyes of The Lord; and that was happened to this short sinner after my encounter with the Lord in 1983.

People are never the same after they pursue Jesus and He finds them and calls them down out their own tree of sinfulness. We simply cannot live the same lifestyle that we lived before we found Jesus. When we find His love for even the worst sinners; and we encounter His saving grace, like Zacchaeus, we change. I don’t know whether you were one, like Zacchaeus or Bill Berry, who climbed a tree in life to seek out the saving grace of Jesus as The Christ. But if you are, you are living a different kind of life now, after Jesus invited you to come down out of the tree and dine with Him (see Revelation 3: 20 - linked here ).

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for calling me out of my tree of sin. Amen

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