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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Defining Moment



Suffocated, trapped like a wild animal in the crowd hard-pressed all around, panic seized the desperate man as he struggled to forge a way through to the melee’s epicenter. An unexplainable compulsion to see the ‘Nazarene’ had captured his soul, compelling him to unusual, curious measures.

The entire town had abandoned their morning routines to catch a glimpse of Him, or better still, to touch Him, if possible. News of His miraculous powers had gripped the entire region, the stories of wonder on everyone’s lips.

He’s here, here in Jericho. I want to see Him, the frantic man screamed inwardly. Wild with irrational desperation, he pleaded, pushed and shoved to make a way through. Futile! Impossible! Fervent prayer to Yahweh escaped his quivering lips, “O God, I have to see Him!”

The Sycamore tree! An image of the massive tree beside the road near the centre of the town’s square suddenly appeared in his mind. I could clearly see Him from that tree! he reasoned.


Angels smiled above, having set the scene to answer the man’s prayer.


Breaking away from the crowd, Zacchaeus ran ahead and down into the deserted town square. Reaching the tree, he effortlessly scaled the ancient tree’s broad trunk, positioning himself in the expansive branches, finding the best vantage point. I can see the entire road…everything clearly from here! Satisfied, his heart swelled with intense anticipation.

The noise of the approaching crowd was deafening–laughing, pleading, praises-all mingled together in one corporate plea to the carpenter’s son from Nazareth. All Zacheaus could hear was his pounding heart thumping wildly in his chest. Strangely warmed, he tried to fathom his impulsive behaviour as he watched the crowd draw closer. Leaving my tax booth unattended is one thing…climbing a tree to see a man is another…!? He was unable to explain the sudden longing in his heart to seek after God, whom he institutively understood was encapsulated in the Nazarene. Some are calling Him the Son of God, the Messiah! Could He be?

Zacchaeus frantically scanned the approaching crowd. THERE! I can see Him! Tears brimmed over his eyes and streamed down his full, ruddy cheeks before rolling down his manicured beard. The sight of Yeshua took away his breath, his heart pounding harder as He drew nearer. Zacchaeus was irresistibly drawn to Him by a love and power he had never known existed. I want Him to touch me. I want to be clean! The intensity of his cry racking his soul.

Suddenly the crowd arrived, gathering under the tree. Held captive by the Nazarene’s demeanor, Zaccheaus absorbed His every detail–the glow of God’s glory on His face, eyes that blazed with love’s passion, the authority emanating from His very being…

He is the source of all life! “O God, I have to meet this man.” His agonized prayer rose from the depths of his heart, the sheer force of his yearning shaking him to the core. Zaccheaus followed Yeshua with his eyes. Suddenly, He was there, under the tree, the enormity of His personal presence overwhelming Zaccheaus.

Without warning, Yeshua turned and lifted his eyes to meet his. Zacchaeus froze, stupefied. He’s looking at me, smiling. He’s talking to me… “Zacchaeus, I must come to your house today…” Time and eternity stood still in that surreal moment. He…He called me by name. How does he know my name? He wants me…He’s calling me…He’s offering me His hand, helping me out of the tree…

Bewildered, taken by surprise with the abrupt turn of events, Zacchaeus found himself walking beside the Nazarene. Deaf to the rumblings and insults of the disapproving crowd, all he could hear echoing through his heart was the unexpected mentioning of his name, the validating of his existence, by God.

Adapted from Luke 19:1-9.

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This article has been read 995 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon09/13/07
This is a very good retelling of the Bible story. Your writing is very enjoyable to read -- it flows so smoothly, and puts the reader in the scene. Nice job.
Joanne Sher 09/14/07
Great descriptions and storytelling. I felt like I really got to know this familiar character in a completely different way. Enjoyed this!
Dee Yoder 09/14/07
I so enjoyed reading this story! I like the emotions and questions which you voice in Zacheaus. This really brought the story to life for me.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/15/07
This is one of my favorite of all the retellings of Bible stories I have read in the challenges. I love how you expressed the longing of Zacchaeus's heart.
Jan Ackerson 09/17/07
Really nicely done, and I was particularly tickled by the little sentence in the middle about the angels setting the scene.
Pat Guy 09/17/07
One of my favorite too. ;) I don't think I have read one from Zacchaeus' POV and you nailed it girl!

Loved it!
Patty Wysong09/17/07
Neat! You made us feel his feelings and that added a lot of depth. I loved 'hearing' his thoughts--great job! :-)
Loren T. Lowery09/17/07
God does surprise us sometmes with His choices. He does surpise us, too - that He would chose us! Great job.
Linda Watson Owen09/17/07
Oh, Wow! What a wonderful retelling of this soo familiar Bible story! It has such an engaging energy and drive in it. I was leaning toward Jesus with Zachaeus (sp?) as you were painting the scene. Great job!
Brenda Welc09/19/07
I love these stories which make the Bible come to life! Great writing here. Keep up the good work.
Jacquelyn Horne09/19/07
Good take on a familiar story.
Betty Castleberry09/19/07
Great detail in this piece. I enjoyed this very much. You know I'm going to be singing the children's song "Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man" all day now, don't you? :0)
Very well done.
Kristen Hester09/20/07
This is great. Congrats!
Sheri Gordon09/20/07
Congratulations on your EC. This was one of my favorites. Good job.
Mo 09/20/07
Very cool. Congrats on your EC win!
Sherri Ward09/24/07
To somehow express the way that the infinite God shows up in the life of an ordinary human, conveying His love and attention - is a difficult thing. You have done it well.
Venice Kichura09/26/07
Excellent piece! You really captured his personality , Karen! A well-deserved congrats!