Expectations or Possibilities

God knowing us is a double edged sword, is it not? We desperately want to be understood, but as we talked about last we don’t necessarily want anyone to know how we mess up. We are so used to people condemning us for the slightest thing, we are fearful of what they would do if they really knew the whole truth. People and God see us differently. People see us for how we have messed up, but God sees us for what is possible.

Luke 19 5b

Zacchaeus climbed the tree hoping for just a glimpse of the man he had heard about. There was much talk about this Jesus, and while he never expected eye contact, he hoped he could see the rabbi walk past. Zacchaeus wondered what it must be like to be a disciple of Jesus’. He, however, was a tax collector. He was used to no eye contact from people. He had fattened his pocket by cheating and lying to those he lived near. He understood why they hated him, but he was doing what he could to get by in a world ruled by Romans and Pharisees.

What do you do when Jesus calls your name? Zacchaeus climbed down quickly. What honor! Zacchaeus stood a little taller when he came down from the tree. Jesus knew him! Zacchaeus didn’t stop to wonder how; he simply did what the rabbi said.

But the crowd was not so quick to follow Jesus. They were stricken in shock and dumbfounded by this move. They thought this was a great rabbi. Had he not done miracles? Had he not taught differently that the other teachers and with an authority others did not have? If he was so great he would have known who Zacchaeus was and stayed far away from him.

But that’s just it isn’t? That’s where our grace and mercy is, in Jesus’ words. Jesus knew exactly who Zacchaeus was, and he called to him where he was, and expected Zacchaeus to heed his words.

This left Zacchaeus in the middle of two pulls: the people who hated him, for good reason, and the rabbi who knew him and still wanted to be with him. Zacchaeus knew things would have to change.

Are you more likely to change when people are berating you, or loving you? Here Zacchaeus most likely lived with the oppression of his actions and job for most of his life. The people he lived around thought little of him, but he never tried to come above their expectations. And here, in a moment, Jesus calls him higher. Out of love, respect, honor… because of who Jesus was Zacchaeus changes his ways in a moment. Without Jesus giving instructions he chooses to do what he knows is right.

Not only will I give half of what I have to the poor, but I will also pay back those whom I have cheated… four times as much.”

Jesus knew Zacchaeus. He knew what Zacchaeus did, but also what Zacchaeus was capable of. God knows we will fall and fail, but having someone who knows you and believes in you still? That’s some powerful stuff.

Zacchaeus is no different than you. Jesus knows you, too. He knows you right where you are, whether in a tree or at the edge of the road. No matter what the crowd says or thinks when they look at you, Jesus calls you to heed his words. Live according to his possibilities rather than their expectations. We get to choose who we listen to.


  1. Love love love this line.

    "People see us for how we have messed up, but God sees us for what is possible. "

    1. Well.... it's either

      It's a true thought.


      It's so true though.

      Your pick. :D

  2. What a great story / lesson! I love that Jesus called him 'by name'! How funny that he happened to be up a tree at that moment - the humor is impossible to ignore. I think the Lord must've been chuckling a little bit as he called out to the little man, do you?

    1. When I think about it I agree, but the laugh has a sad spin to it. Only because I'm sure Jesus didn't want Zacchaeus thinking he wasn't worth his (Jesus') time. Does that make sense? heh Thanks so much for stopping by dear!


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