By this point is Jesus’ earthly ministry, people from far and wide had heard about him and his supernatural miracles. They had heard of him feeding the 5,000 with just a small lad’s lunch and his ability to heal diseases with a simple touch. People from all over had head of Jesus and wanted to know more about him.
This particular day, at the beginning of Luke 19, Jesus was passing through Jericho. As word spread throughout the city, a multitude began to form around Jesus (as usual). People from all parts of the city had come to see the man that they had heard so many stories about, the man that claimed to be the Son of God.
In the midst of the crowd was a man named Zacchaeus. “And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.” (\Luke:19:2 He lived a very busy life as the chief among the publicans, but apparently had still heard enough about Jesus to be interested in his passing through town. He wanted to see the man behind the stories. The man that performed all these miracles with seemingly no effort. There was only one problem… Zacchaeus was a short man and couldn’t see Jesus through the crowd of people.
You see the problem? There is a man who is interested in Jesus, but has no way to get to him on his own!
As Zacchaeus looked around for a solution to his problem, he saw a sycamore tree. Verse 3 says, “And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.” On his own, Zacchaeus was unable to see Jesus but with the help of the sycamore tree he was able to clearly see past all the crowd and see Jesus for the first time!
Looking at this story, I realize that I have alot of sycamore trees in my life that I am thankful for!
1) Bro. Tony – I was saved at the age 7 in Bro. Tony’s Sunday school class. I needed someone to explain sin to me, show me that I am a sinner, and then tell me about Jesus and his saving grace! I am very thankful for Bro. Tony and his willingness to be a sycamore tree in my life.
2) My Parents – I am thankful for my parents raising me in a good church. There were times that I didn’t really want to go, but they made sure I was there regardless. When I was 16, I was tired of church, started working on Sundays, and stopped going to church most weeks. My parents switched churches to one closer to our house and convinced me to give it a shot. After one Sunday I was hooked! The people of the church were so friendly and invited, they really made me feel like family. My parents have been a great sycamore tree in my life!
3) Bro. Earl – Once I started attending church faithfully again, the youth group became a big part of my life. Bro. Earl was my Youth Pastor during this time and he was my biggest role model! I looked up to him in every way. He always made sure that we were in good environments to make good decisions. He was there when I rededicated my life to God, got called to preach on a youth trip to New Mexico, and when I was trying to decide where to go to college. Bro. Earl was a crucial sycamore tree in my life and I am thankful for him every day!
There are many other people that have been sycamore trees in my life, but these are ones that stick out in my mind first. The point is, everyone that is following God’s will for their life can look back and see the sycamore trees that God placed in their lives to help them get there.
There is a world full of people out there. Most of them have heard the stories of Jesus. They have heard of the miracles, the healings, and the supernatural events in his life. There is no doubt people out there that would like to know more about Jesus but they lead very busy lives (like Zacchaeus) and don’t really know how to get to Jesus on their own. They need a sycamore tree! Maybe it’s a teenager in the youth group who comes every other week but isn’t too involved, so you don’t pay much attention to him. Maybe it’s your neighbor who sees your family leave for church every Sunday morning but isn’t sure if they would be welcomed to join. Whoever it is, they are out there trying to find Jesus… They just need a little help.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the sycamore trees in my life. Let’s strive to be sycamore trees for others every chance we get! Help others get to Jesus!
Written by Ty Campbell, Assistant Pastor/Youth Pastor at Hillcrest Bible Baptist Church, Arkansas City, KS