Oops, I picked this melon before its time:
In my defense, I didn’t know what it was when it was growing, since I didn’t actually “plant” it. Then when it starting sprouting, I uprooted it to give it a better chance in the garden, and as it grew, thought maybe it was some sort of squash or something. Lo and behold, as it began to mature, it’s a cantaloupe!
Okay, so I’ll let the other ones stay on the vine longer…
Jesus, however, knew Zacchaeus was ready when He spied him up a tree:
“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’”
Why was it imperative that Jesus be a guest in the house of Zacchaeua that day? It was like He had a mandate from His Father. Somehow He knew Zacchaeus was ripe. We can tell by the man’s response:
“Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.”
Ripe people tend to do that when presented with the true love of God. Then this:
“But the people were displeased.’
Well, gee, what a surprise. Once again, another trait of God’s Son that is jaw-dropping amazing, as if He didn’t know what the crowd’s reaction was going to be. As if He cared. Peer-pressure wasn’t exactly something Jesus was tuned in to. (As opposed to my middle school, where everyone walks around with aluminum foil on their sensitive peer-antennae…“what might she think if….??”)
“’He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,’ they grumbled.”
THEY grumbled. And yet I can’t help but think that there might have been some others in that crowd whose eyes widened and lips dared a slight smile—“if there was hope for that wretched chief tax collector, perhaps there’s hope for me!”
Here’s the point. When God calls us to love, compassion, and service, (which is a constant mandate, but there are also special unctions for which the Holy Spirit may tap us on the shoulder), it is imperative that I don’t succumb to the “what might THEY think” mentality. I’m sorry to say, but at 58 years old, I have to remind myself that I am NOT a middle schooler, I only WORK at one. (God help me, God help me.) Because part of “they” that are watching are also ripe for the picking, they just don’t know it yet.
That’s what is called the hidden congregation. If Jesus had a specific mandate to pick Zacchaeus from the tree in front of all those people, peer pressure aside, to show such amazing love and compassion in the face of public disgrace, I suspect it was for more than just Zacchaeus.
So I’m thinking when that hated man dropped from the tree, a lot of other ripe fruit began to fall around “THEM” also. Kind of had a positive domino effect.
Funny thing, it still has the same effect today.
Luke 19:5-7 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.