The story of Zacchaeus is one of those chapters in the gospel that is full of many interpretations. Reading through the gospel today, I was struck by that little phrase “because of the crowd”.
A crowd is a group of people who are fully gathered in a particular place, restricting people to move around or move through. Because of the crowd, Zacchaeus tried to see Jesus but could not, until he climbed the tree to see Him.
The crowd then can be interpreted as that which restricts us from moving forward. It can also be seen as people’s public opinion about who you are.
This is moving around with a group of people and accepting whatever people say about you. One thing with the crowd is that it must limit our movement or space.
In the Gospel
As Jesus approaches Jericho, A wealthy and senior tax collector known as Zacchaeus comes out to see Jesus. Maybe He has been hearing about Him but because of the crowd and His dwarf nature, He was not able to see Jesus.
Zacchaeus has to climb the sycamore tree only to have a glimpse of who Jesus is. This single effort from Zacchaeus not only attracted the attention of Jesus but made Jesus visit His home and thus changed the life of Zacchaeus.
In the Midst of the Crowd
Because of the crowd, Herod made a promise he never wanted to make and killed John the baptist. It is because of them, the woman with the issue of blood finds it hard to touch Jesus (Matthew 9:20-22). The same crowd was shouting down the beggar yesterday (Luke 18:35-43)
Sometimes because of what people would say, think or do, we hide who we are. Because of the crowd, many today are afraid to come out of their comfort zone.
The crowd today even would have prevented Jesus from going to the house of Zacchaeus. They were murmuring already. But today, the crowd did not stop Zacchaeus from seeing Jesus. They did not stop Jesus from going to the house of Zacchaeus.
The crowd did not stop the woman with the issue of the blood to touch Jesus. Yesterday the beggar had to shout despite the crowd’s intimidation.
In the midst of the crowd, we always limit ourselves. Because of what people will say if you are close to God, you have tried to live according to the dictates of the time and hence lose your relationship with God. You don’t want anyone to tag you “Holy”, “Onye Bible’, “Church lady”.
Because of the crowd, you find it hard to show the gifts God blesses you with. You are afraid, they will attack, criticize, and laugh at you.
So, we think the best is to hide and live in our comfort zone. Even when they try to talk you down, you begin to think that it is good to stop because you don’t want to be criticized.
Climb the Tree
There are times we need to move out of the crowd to get to our destined positions in life. Zacchaeus has to climb the tree.
The woman with the issue of blood has to force herself through while the beggar has to shout. You need to continue to make efforts.
Only one single effort can change your life. Zacchaeus’ efforts brought salvation to the family. What if He didn’t climb the tree? Can such an opportunity come? We need to climb our own tree.
We need to act. If we listen or follow the crowd, what the crowd can do is to restrict your movement. If you have any worthwhile effort, please do it. Salvation may come from it.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to live a good life. May every single effort we make pave way for our salvation. Amen
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