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Lk.19:1 (KJV) And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
The town of Jericho was agog!
The much awaited Visitor had arrived at last!
The Terrific Instructor, Teacher, Coach!
The Articulate Preacher!
The Excellent Communicator!
The Miracle Worker!
Friend like no other!
The All Powerful supposed King of the Jews!!!
And the whole city practically turned out to welcome this Extraordinary Man with great excitement.
The reception was even warmer and grander than His disciples had anticipated:
Having heard about how Jesus had restored sight (and vision) to Blind Bartimaeus, (whom they knew so well as to have named the arena where he had begged after him), the whole city turned out to receive Him with great joy.
Unsurprisingly, there was really much fuss as men tried to outdo one another trying to catch the Lord’s attention!
And this explains why Zacchaeus hadn’t been in the least mistaken about his standing no chance at all in this contest and context naturally speaking. He knew his townsmen so well!
Peter, the Lord’s Personal Assistant wondered at the look on the Master’s face.
Obviously, Jesus loved the people and appreciated the warm reception. However, Peter was too sure He wasn’t in the least moved by the commotion or the generous attention bestowed on Him.
Knowing his Master so well, he could tell He had an entirely different plan; and only God knew what He was up to this time!
Peter knew his Master very well. Nevertheless, he wasn’t always sure he would ever fully understand Him.
Besides, he would never cease to be amazed by His lifestyle.
He couldn’t fathom how on earth a Man so powerful, wise and knowledgeable… the only Man who had direct access to Heaven’s authority and power… the One before whom demons tremble… the One who had even angels at His beck and call, would choose to live such a simple and lowly life!
He would never figure out why He who was the greatest of all would keep on parading Himself ‘proudly’ and excitedly as their servant!
How he often wished he could trade places with Jesus if only for just some few minutes- to just prove to the world that men are in sizes…
And Peter blushed as he considered the possibility of the Master’s extreme preference for humility and simplicity being one of the reasons why His family had been tempted oftentimes to think that the man must be beside Himself!
There might have been this feeling of wanting some’ status’ or kind of prestige in the society by virtue of their being related to the King of kings which, much to their discredit, wasn’t compliant with His earthly mission.
Jesus simply had no time or space for such razzmatazz in His agenda!
Peter supressed a big fat grin as he recalled the look of disappointment written boldly on their faces the day they had barged in on Jesus during a sermon demanding His audience.
He could literally hear their bubbles pop when the Master had said,
“… for whoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. ” (Mar. 3: 31-35)
Peter laughed out loud!
“Forgive my trespass, Father”, he quickly muttered feeling guilty for ever allowing his mind to wander off in that direction.
Surely, his Master was one in a million…
Jesus was a gentleman to the core!
and of course Very Gentle;
Extremly Powerful- YET, humility personified!
Extremely Powerful- YET totally focused and committed to His God-given mandate!
As though His life depended on being the very best He could be!
Furthermore, Peter had grown to so love and depend on Jesus in the three years they had met that he could never imagine life without Him.
Jesus seemed to have a ready answer to every question… a ready solution to every challenge…
He remembered how He had healed his mother-in-law when she was sick with this relapsing fever …
He recalled how Jesus had stepped in to deliver them when their life was in jeopardy during that raging storm on their way to the country of the Gaderenes. He had literally hushed the storm to sleep just with His words…
And how could he ever forget his favourite testimony of all time- how Jesus had fed five thousand fully grown men and them in the wilderness with just five barley loaves and two fishes…
How would he ever cope without His wisdom, guidance, protection and provision? And he could remember Him telling them He would be going to Jerusalem to ‘die for their sins’ – whatever that meant.
Peter had meant every word when he told Jesus to drop the idea when He had first spoken about this ‘dying’ thing.
He still meant every word till that very moment, even though the Lord had rebuked him sharply on that occasion!
The Man had better not tried anything funny!
He had better not ‘died’ now! He mused…
As for Jesus, however, the vain things of this world, the deceitfulness of fame, power and riches never moved him!
And on this particular occasion of His visit to Jericho, He barely noticed the ceremony around Him, though He showed great love for the people and much gratitude for the grand reception they hosted to His honour.
Throughout the welcome fiesta however, His heart called and even ached for just one person:
That was His major project here!
Jesus also knew that locating Zacchaeus wouldn’t be hard: A man with his credentials, a man so full of faith and anticipation couldn’t be lost in this tumultuous crowd of seemingly more equipped and better qualified people.
He was certain that were He to close His eyes and feign blindness as Blind Bartimaeus had been, He still wouldn’t miss him.
Once He got to the spot where Zacchaeus was, He knew something would compel Him to look up!
Next: Enough is Enough!
Thank You for not only coming to die for me, but also to teach me how to live!
You made available for me quality life, and modeled for me a quality lifestyle…
Surely, Your ways are beyond the comprehension of the frail human mind!
Thank You also for reassuring me that a mammoth crowd of seemingly better privileged people can never limit my chances with You because You do look out for me as though I am the only one!
For this I am exceptionally and eternally grateful.
Funmi Adebayo © 2013