Zacchaeus . . . was seeking to see who Jesus was. 

At the high points in Jesus’ ministry, he was surrounded by large crowds of people. We can assume that many had heard about his deeds or listened to his preaching without fully—or perhaps ever—catching sight of him. In a time without television, photography, or the printing press, most people probably didn’t expect to “see” Jesus. People like him gained notoriety through word of mouth as much as by public appearances.

So it’s a bit comical and curious that short-statured Zacchaeus—who, given the height of the average man in ancient times, was probably well under five feet—desperately wanted to see Jesus in the flesh. Most other people would have been content just to be part of the crowd.

Today, we may not have to climb trees, but depending on how good we are at visualization, we may have to put in a little extra effort to “see” Jesus in our mind’s eye. If you’re wondering why this is important, consider the payoff that Zacchaeus received. Because of his efforts, he moved past seeing Jesus to encountering him. He began a living friendship with Jesus that day, one that blessed Zacchaeus and delighted Jesus.

As you can see, it’s worth thinking about our own “seeking” after Jesus. Like Zacchaeus, you might try new, creative ways to get a closer look at him. For example, have you ever pictured Jesus’ hands? Maybe they were strong and calloused from working with tools and carrying wood and stone. What else might you learn by calling to mind the sound of his laughter or his posture in prayer?

As you imagine Jesus in his everyday life, you’ll probably discover unexpected things that draw you to him. You may want to start with a Gospel passage or a favorite image of Jesus that you’ve come across. Rest assured, it won’t just be your imagination at work. Whenever anyone seeks Jesus, the Holy Spirit cooperates with that person to reveal new aspects of his life and love. Remember, Jesus is your friend, and you were created to be united with him.

“Jesus, show me who you are in the flesh and in the Spirit.”

2 Maccabees 6:18-31
Psalm 3:2-7
Luke 19:1-10


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