“No one likes me, I’m a reject” is the lie we all believe at one time or other. We can overcome it with Zacchaeus.
“He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10
Even if he’s in the midst of a crowd, Jesus’ only focus is on a small man who’s feeling like a reject. Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Tax collectors were seen to be dishonest cheaters and were hated by many. Zacchaeus was hiding in a tree but Jesus saw him and had his focus on him.
When you feel like a reject in the middle of a crowded place and you feel like you don’t fit in, and when you see that everyone else gets more attention than you, you need to know something. Jesus isn’t focused on the thousands who are accepted, happy, and have it all figured out. He is focused on you. Even if you’re surrounded by people you think to be better and more worthy than you, Jesus chooses to set his eyes on you and to make you the center of his attention.
Even if religion and church has rejected you, then it means that Jesus wants to come and visit you at your house. Seriously. He doesn’t even tell Zacchaeus “Hey, I know another place where you can go in and be accepted and you can hang out there.” Jesus doesn’t send Zacchaeus somewhere else to feel accepted. Jesus wants Zacchaeus for Himself. He wants to be a real friend to Zacchaeus. So, it’s as if Jesus tells him, “Hey, let’s go home. I know that the temples around you are so religious and corrupt and they don’t really like you, so we’ll stay home. I don’t even want to go into those temples either. I would prefer to come to your house. I’m going to come over, not just for a little bit, but I want to stay there with you all day. We’ll talk like friends at your place. We’ll talk about your hurt and your pains. We’ll talk about what’s bothering you. We’ll fix things and from that point onward, you’ll feel better and your life will get better. I’m not going to accuse you or put you down. While we’re talking together, if there’s any wrongs you feel you still need to make right, I’ll help you do that. “