Climb Above

Background Story: Jesus has been healing and delivering people everywhere He went. As His fame has grown, so have the crowds that followed Him.

Read Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Big Idea: Don’t let distractions keep you from Jesus.

One thing is for sure…life is full of distractions and obstacles. You start your day with good plans and then BAM, something happens and your plan is totally disrupted. In this story of Zacchaeus, we see a man who was apparently super short. Jesus was nearby and Zacchaeus wanted to see Him but his height and all the people around him were obstacles. To not miss Jesus, this grown man decided to climb a tree.

So often when obstacles come in our lives, it can be easy to use them as an excuse to not spend time with Jesus. You might have had an argument, made a poor decision, or are totally stressed out. Don’t let those obstacles prevent you from your encounter with Him. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” How can we fix our gaze on Jesus today even if we are surrounded by distractions?

In Deuteronomy 11, God gives the Israelites instructions as they lived in a world of distractions to keep the Israelites from becoming “enticed to turn away and worship other gods” (v16) and to continue to “love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (v13). God instructs the Israelites to, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (v18-21) God instructed them to remember His faithfulness and His words throughout their everyday life.

For me a simple way I keep my thoughts fixed on Jesus throughout my day is to carry His word with me wherever I go. When a verse jumps out at me in my time with Him, I write it down and carry it in my pocket all day long. Throughout the day, I will pull it out to read and pray the simple truth God showed me. For you, it might be adding the image to your phone or taping it to your mirror. But as we hide God’s word in our hearts, we fix our eyes on His promises, His faithfulness, and His purposes.

Today, pursue Him FIRST in the midst of our obstacles. As we take that time to quiet our heart, spend time in His word, speak to Him in prayer, and carry His word with us, we are climbing that tree above our obstacles to fix our gaze on Him. From that vantage point, we see our situation with a new perspective and His presence promises us peace.

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