TREES #9 - Zacchaeus & the Sycamore Tree
Originally, in part#6 (Figs) of this series I had touched on the Sycamore Tree. However, I have since found out that the Sycamore and Fig trees are NOT the same. I have since taken out that portion in part 6. This is what I found out today - the fig tree is part of the mulberry family, whereas the sycamore tree is part of the maple family. I can now see the shape resemblance between a sycamore leaf and a maple leaf (in the first picture below the brown leaf on the right is the maple and the large one on the left is the sycamore) (in the second picture below the maple leaf is the yellow one inside of the large sycamore leaf):
In today's continuation of the trees series, we will be focusing on the Sycamore Tree.
(NOTE - the picture used above is a painting by Andrew Wyeth and it is on display at the Toledo Museum of Art - I added the "#9" to it.).
This is Part#9 on "Zacchaeus & the Sycamore Tree".
There's nothing insignificant in the Bible and I believe that there is a reason why Zacchaeus climed a Sycamore tree.
The Sycamore tree lives an average of 200 years but can live as long as 600 years. The Sycamore is gigantic and can grow to 130 feet tall!! The trunk often hollows out near the base and these areas make great habitat for wild animals.
We first need to talk about "tax collectors" in Jesus' day because Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. You see, the tax collectors were hated. At that time the Jews were being controlled by an occupying force - the Romans. These taxes were going to the Roman government instead of to the Jews and therefore this was fraud. Also, the tax collectors were known to be cruel in their collection methods. Therefore, tax collectors were considered traitors.
I believe this tree symbolizes the fact that Zacchaeus originally thought of himself as above others - high and mighty and wealthy. But Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus and since he was so short he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree. This was an act of faith - running ahead and climbing the tree.
Zacchaeus did EXACTLY what Jesus asked of him:
- he came down from the tree quickly
- he brought Jesus to his house for the night
And he also received Him JOYFULLY!!!
(can you imagine having Jesus spend the night at your house? Eat whatever you prepare for dinner?)
This joy is what happens when our sins are washed away! Forgiveness and repentance. Once Zacchaeus knew that his
sins had been forgiven he immediately went to work on RESTORING what he had stolen through his fraudulent tax collection (see verse 8)(In Exodus 22:1 it talks about restoring what was stolen fourfold).
Then look what the public say about Jesus after going to Zacchaeus' house:
But when they saw it, they all complained, saying,
“He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
And Jesus clarifies - He has come to save those who are lost - That includes fraudulent tax collectors.
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Jesus came to save ALL of us!
Previous Tree posts:
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