The giant sycamore

Tree of Zacchaeus

It’s probably the tree Zacchaeus the tax collector climbed so he could see Jesus, probably not. But this huge sycamore has, through the years, become a very vivid reminder of that defining moment in the sinner’s life when the Master calls out to him, tells him to come down and stays in his house.

We passed this tree in Jericho, and some people were already on the site – though we didn’t stop to see it. The driver kindly slowed our bus down a bit so we could have a longer look. And according to our tour guide, no one can say for certain whether this old tree is the exact same one mentioned in the Bible, however, experts who have examined the sycamore say that it could very possibly date back to the time of Jesus.

Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

1 Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through.2 There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, “Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today.”

6 Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy.7 All the people who saw it started grumbling, “This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!”

8 Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham. 10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

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