Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)
TITLE: There's a Sight to see!
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Moments earlier, the tax collector had been enjoying the blissful seclusion of his home, alone and meticulously counting the previous day’s taxes. The coins that meant so much to him were now lying abandoned on the table. His soul had been strangely drawn, as he heard the commotion in the street outside. “Yeshua is here!” These words somehow compelled him to leave his precious mammon to pursue a sudden search of God. Entering the emptied street, the chief tax collector hesitated in astonishment. All around he saw that the essential labours of the morning had also been abruptly abandoned by his neighbours.
The pressing need to see the Carpenter’s Son, was just as intense as the press of the crowd. For the moment, social and religious correctness had been thrown aside. Young and old, men and women, mingled with singular purpose. The entire populace was engaged in a corporate plea for mercy. “Touch ME, Yeshua!” “Have mercy on me, Lord!” All pleading at the same moment, ...longing for His touch, yearning for His attention. Waves of emotion could be felt as they rippled through the crowd. Awe, wonder, elation, ...and especially desperation.
Why is my heart thundering in my chest? The hated, but wealthy, tax collector wondered. His social stature mirrored his physical stature. “My height impedes me.” He groaned. The agony of his dilemma rose up as a bitter taste. “I MUST see Him!” His soul screamed.
Impassioned with desperation, the collector of taxes tried repeatedly to force his way through the crowd. He felt like a caged animal. Trapped! Thrust along with the surging crowd, towering heads and shoulders encompassing him. “Let me through!” He demanded. His frenzied cry fell on deaf ears.
My height is a curse! His thoughts again returned to his physical handicap. Don’t brood on that now. He lectured himself. Can dwelling on it add one single cubit to my stature? Aghhh... There’s finally something worthwhile seeing, but it’s out of my reach! Hot, bitter tears stung his eyes. Hope deferred was tormenting his soul. “I MUST SEE YESHUA!” He again demanded. “LET ME THROUGH!”
News of the ‘seeing’ blind beggar, Bartimaus, spread like a wildfire through the crowd. It ignited the heart of every man. They all knew him, ...well. He was now walking beside Yeshua! Hearing this news, the pressure of the tax collectors desire intensified.
Unseen above him, heavenly hosts prepared the way for this desperate man’s appointed time with the Messiah. “Ohhh, GOD! I CAN’T see Him. HELP ME!” He cried from the depths of his being. “Touch his eyes to see the tree!” The command was given by an Angelic Commander. Another angel poised above the frantic man, responded instantly to his prayer. The angel touched his eyes and spoke into his mind, “Look ahead. See the tree! Climb it and wait for Yeshua, since He is passing that way. You will see Him clearly from there.” The sudden revelation struck the tax collector with incredible force.
Departing the crowd was just as difficult as flowing with it. Finally, reaching the fringe, he ran ahead of the crowd like a driven man. It’s my ONLY chance! The urgent thought propelled him along. The stories he had heard about Yeshua paraded through his mind as he hurried towards the tree. “There’s never been such things seen in all Israel. He even forgives ‘sinners’.” What was the reason for his irrational behaviour? The despised man probed his intellect for answers. He didn’t recognise the Hand moving him was the God of his fathers. The unbearable compulsion to see Yeshua was more than any desire he had ever known.
Reaching the tree, effortlessly, he lifted himself up into the Sycamore’s expansive branches. There was no time now to reflect on how he was able to accomplish this feat. Just in time... “There... I CAN SEE HIM!” His heart declared, pounding again in his chest. The sight of Him took away his breath. Nothing else mattered.
Children playing nearby began to ridicule the exquisitely dressed man perched in the tree. “Found a new place to collect your taxes, Zacchaeus?”Some of the men taunted. But the jeers and insults levelled at him made no impression at all on his mind. “Hey man! What are you doing up in that tree? Another man questioned, “Sightseeing?” In whispered awe.... “Nooo,” he answered, his eyes again smarting with tears .... “There’s a Sight to see!”
Adapted from Luke 19:1-6. NIV.
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