The BackDoor Bible Series

The Journey - Lesson 4

 

"Sid" the Sycamore Tree

(The Tree that Helped Zacheus see Jesus)

 

 Once upon a time many years ago there was a tree named Sid. Sid got his name because he was very tall sycamore tree that grew beside a road that led into a large city named Jericho. Now Jericho was a city that had high walls around it but Sid was so tall he could see right over the walls into the city.

 Now back in that time the road to Jericho was very busy. Lots of people were always going into and out of the city right past Sid and Sid used to love to listen to them talk as they pasted by. In fact listening to people was Sid's 2nd favorite thing to do. His most favorite thing was to be climbed by people but this didn't happen very often because all the people were too busy coming and going to be climbing trees so Sid just settled for listening to the travelers as they pasted by.

 One day as Sid was listening he heard two men taking about a man called Jesus who did some really amazing things like walk on water, calm storms and feed 5000 people with just one sack lunch. Pretty soon lots of people who passed by were talking about this amazing man. Some said he was "the Messiah", a word they used back then that meant "the Savior" but other people said he was just a crazy man who was tricking people into following him to get their money. Sid wondered which was true.

 Now Sid wasnít the only one who lived near Jericho and wondered about Jesus. See back in those days you had to pay some money (called a tax) when you entered a city and Jericho had a tax collector that stood at the city gate. His name was Zacheus. Nobody liked Zacheus because he was a tax collector and just like today, people back then didnít like to give their money to the government. To make matters worse, Zacheus was also a cheat. He regularly over-charged the people and kept the extra money for himself.  When Zacheus heard about this man Jesus he too wondered if this man was really the Savior that God's word had promised would come or whether he was just a con man like himself. Well as things happened he wouldn't have to wait long to find out.

 A few days later, a crowd started to gather outside the city gates on the road. Sid thought there must be a parade or something coming because the crowd was lining both side of the street. He listened very hard to the noisy crowd to try and hear what they were waiting for and soon he had his answer as he over heard a woman telling her son to be patient because Jesus would some come by. The crowd was their to see Jesus, Jesus was coming to Jericho Sid thought. Finally I will be able to see for myself if this man is really the Savior. Zacheus was there in the crowd as well, also very anxious to see Jesus but he was a very short man and could not see over the bigger people in the crowd.

 About a half hour passed and then coming up the road Sid saw a group of men following someone. This must be Jesus he thought and as he approached Sid tried hard to watch his every move and hear his every word - but suddenly Sid shuddered! His attention turned away from Jesus back to himself for something had interrupted him. .. a man was climbing his trunk!

 Now remember that being climbed on was Sid most favorite thing and as he watched the short little man climb up into his branches he got so excited that he almost forgot about Jesus. I suppose he would have except as Jesus passed by below he suddenly stopped, looked up into Sid and said "Zacheus, please come down for I'm going to your house today".

 Zacheus, Zacheus, Sid thought, so that's who climbed up into my branches. It was that tax collector that cheats everyone. Well he though at least now I know who Jesus is. If he's going to Zacheus's house he must be a cheat just like him. A Savior wouldnít go to a tax collectors house he thought. This is also what the people in the crowd were saying as they walked back into the city.

 Now Zacheus's house was very close to the city 's wall and being so tall, Sid was able to watch Jesus as he and Zacheus arrived at Zacheus's house and what he saw that day he would never forget. For when they arrived he saw Zacheus fall on his knees and call Jesus his Lord. Then Zacheus admitted that he cheated people and offered to pay back everyone he had stolen from 4x what he had taken. On hearing this Jesus declared that Zacheus was saved from death and told him that he was sent to seek out those who were lost and save them.

 It seemed that the crowd had been wrong. This man Jesus was not a swindler or a crazy man. He was not interested in Zacheus because he was good or bad. He was interest in him because he was seperated from God because of his sins and needed to be saved from death. Zacheus reponded to Jesus message of love and he repented. He decided to stop doing wrong, start doing right and to repay those he stole from.

 As the sun went down that evening, Sid thought a lot about what he had seen. Why had this little man been chosen by Jesus that day. Why him all the way up in a tree and not the others closer in the crowd. As he replayed the days events back in his mind, Sid realized that it was Zacheus who was so interested in learning about Jesus that he was willing overcome any obstacle just to see him. The others were just curious, but Zacheus wanted it so bad he was willing to climb that tree. Zacheus was also willing to look into his own heart and admit he was disobeying God. He chose to repent that day and started his journey to God in Heaven.

 As Sid fell asleep his last thought was "Surley this man Jesus is the Son of God".

 

by David C Klem .. Copyright 1998

 

 

Challenge:

 

What about you kids, Do you want to see Jesus. You have heard about him and what hid did for you on the cross and you have heard that he still lives and is in heaven right know preparing a place for those who follow him. Today you canít see his body, but his Spirit is here and it whispers to your heart. He says

 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20 (NIV)

 Will you open your heart to Jesus.? Will you look inside and admit you are sinful and like to do all sorts of things that are wrong.?  Will you put some effort into getting past all the stuff in your life that keeps you busy like TV & friends and just get alone and quiet - look into your heart and ask Jesus to come in?  If you do, he will come and you will begin to see his spirit in your life like never before.