Seeing the Small

I am that person on the airplane who plays with your toddlers. I have been known to sing, wave, make funny faces, and play endless games of peek-a-boo to entertain them while their parents are struggling and need just a moment to catch their breath. I recently sat next to a mom with a toddler on her lap and spent the entire trip playing with the little girl, who was fascinated with my rings and my mad itsy-bitsy spider skills. Her mom thanked me a thousand times when we deplaned, and I responded that I was once that thankful mom and I’m just paying it forward. Besides, I love small children.

A lot of people don’t notice the little ones. A lot of people don’t notice the little things. A lot of people don’t look beyond their own noses to see someone’s little struggles.

You know who does?


I have always loved the story of Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus the tax collector. Luke identifies him as a “short man” who was struggling to see Jesus in the crowd:

Luke 19 (Common English Bible)

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 

We need to remember that tax collectors were the bottom run on society’s ladder. They were mistrusted and rightfully so; many were corrupt and stole from their takings, overtaxing the poor for their own benefit. Someone with this background must have really wanted to see Jesus to even just be in the crowd.

When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.

This story reads so well! Jesus looked up. Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Jesus invited himself to lunch in Zacchaeus’ home. The crowd was appalled. The rabbi supping with the sinner?? It just wasn’t done!

But Zacchaeus was happy as he welcomed Jesus to his table. Isn’t this the way we should all feel? Even in the depth of our sinning, happiness comes when Jesus sees us and enters our lives with his saving grace.

Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

Was there ever a time when the crowd didn’t grumble about Jesus?

The best part is Zacchaeus’ immediate reaction to the Savior. He knew what was required and his repentance was immediate, sincere, and appropriate. How about yours? Do you follow through with your repentance and not only turn away from your sin, but actively work hard to make reparation to those whom you’ve hurt?

Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”

Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One came to seek and save the lost.

The snooty observers were disgusted, but Jesus stated his mission clearly. He came to seek and save the lost, not comfort the comfortable. As someone once said, the church isn’t a sanctuary for the saints, but a hospital for the sinners.

Salvation comes when we understand the difference.

Trees of Life by Alice Rogers


One of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me is they could see ”word pictures” when I read Scripture aloud. This was a tremendous blessing to me because I actually see word pictures when I read a passage. Today’s Scripture is especially good for seeing a visual as you read the words.

Our task today is to read through the ”Palm Sunday” passage and just SEE it. See the young colt. See its owner’s confusion. See the coats, the crowds, the joy, and the innocence.

See yourself standing among the revelers:

Luke 19 (Common English Bible)

28 After Jesus said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

Procession into Jerusalem

29 As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. 30 He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” 32 Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.

33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “Its master needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it. 36 As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.

3As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen.38 They said,

“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
    Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”

As we move toward Holy Week, it is good to imagine Jesus’ triumphal entry. All too soon we will experience his death. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Today, Jesus is king and the people rejoice! Well, most of the people:

3Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”

40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”

I love Jesus’ response. YOU CAN’T STOP THIS. YOU CAN’T STOP THE JOY OF WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN SEVEN DAYS. Even the stones will shout for joy when the big one is rolled away.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. We are called to ride along with Jesus on that colt and rejoice.

Can you picture it?

Joyful Stone by Ania Flis