So, who is in that tree?

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. - Luke 19:1-4

At church yesterday, we heard this story about Zacchaeus climbing the tree to see Jesus. Scripture describes him as a wealthy tax collector. Alright... so what? Well, in the time of Jesus,  outing Zacchaeus as a tax collector was marking him as someone people didn't like. The people who first read Luke's gospel probably made a face of disgust when they saw Zacchaeus was a tax collector. In those times people like him would collect taxes, but often add on a little more than necessary to line their own pockets. They stole from the people.

So here we see this person that is viewed as disgusting climbing up a tree to see Jesus. Since tax collectors don't anger us so much, let's imagine it is someone else. Let's imagine it is someone you don't like. Perhaps you are a liberal. Then, imagine a conservative has climbed a tree to seek Jesus. How do you feel about that? Maybe you feel like they don't deserve to be seeking Jesus. Or maybe climbing up that tree is someone who has borrowed money and never paid you back. Do you feel like they are out of place trying to seek Jesus?

What I want us to think about today is who we are putting boundaries on when it comes to Jesus. Do we have people that we think are disgusting or undeserving who we want to place outside of seeking Jesus? Are we taking people we disagree with and categorizing them as outsiders, while we are insiders?

Spend a few minutes in prayer today asking God to reveal where you might be placing people outside of His grace. As you go through the day, try to think how Jesus would interact with people that we struggle with.