“And [Zacchaeus] sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature” (Lk. 19:3).

Jesus is passing through Jericho, surrounded by a massive throng of people.

Here is a little man named Zacchaeus who wants to see Jesus. But he can’t see him.

Why couldn’t he see Jesus? One complication was being “little of stature.” Short. Insignificant. And, because he was a tax collector, not very much liked by anyone. So he had neither the physical nor the social stature to see Jesus.

However, if Jesus were not surrounded by the multitude, his little stature would not have prevented him from seeing Jesus.

What really hindered him?

“He could not for the press.” The “press” is what prevented him from seeing Jesus. The “press” is the crush of people, the multitude of them jostling and jousting for position and advantage.

Jesus is similarly difficult to see today because of the multitude of things that crowd us, distract us, and press us.

We can’t see Jesus because of the religious system.

We can’t see Jesus because of the cares of this world that enter in and choke the Word, so that it becomes unfruitful.

We can’t see Jesus because of the other things we are looking at and paying attention to.

We can’t see Jesus because we let too many things come in to press us.

We can’t see Jesus for the press.

In the parable of the marriage supper, the ones who were invited began to make excuses. This one just got married and cannot come. That one just bought a field and cannot come. They are too pressed.

Martha is vexed with “much serving.” Pressed into doing, pressed into being busy, and too pressed to sit at His feet and hear His Word.

We can’t see Jesus for the press.

“Press” is the root word of “pressure.” When people feel under pressure they use another word to describe it: “stressed.”

Stress and pressure. Too many things going on. Spiritual things, being invisible and intangible, become less and less thought of, as the things, concerns, and cares of the world press in upon us.

We can’t see Jesus for the press.

Zacchaeus did two things to beat the press and see Jesus.

First, “He ran ahead” (Lk. 19:4). We cannot see Jesus if we follow the crowd. If we do what the crowd does then we will always be in the press, blind as a bat to spiritual truth.

You cannot follow the crowd. You cannot be swept away by the multitude.

You have to run ahead of the press. You have to get in front of it. If the press hits you every day at 8:00 a.m., you need to be with God ahead of the press. Otherwise the press will rule your day, and you won’t see Jesus for the press.

Run ahead of the press. Don’t be one of the sheeple. Get out in front and stay there. Leave the press behind so you can see Jesus.

The second thing Zacchaeus did was, “He climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him” (Lk. 19:4). To beat the press you have to rise above it. Get higher. Get above the press.

Zacchaeus used a tree to get higher. We can use prayer to get higher. We can use worship to get higher. We can read Scripture to get higher. We can go for a prayer walk, or sit quietly before the Lord for a few minutes a day to get higher.

Whatever the methodology you choose, the principle is the same: get higher. Don’t be pedestrian. Don’t be so earth-bound.

Lift up your voice. Lift up your eyes. Lift up your heart. Lift up the hands that hang down.

Go up. Rise up. Climb up. Soar.

That’s what Zacchaeus did. And Zacchaeus saw Jesus. You can too, if you run ahead of the press and rise up above it.

So Jesus went home with Zacchaeus, while the press stood around and criticized.

But Zacchaeus paid them no attention.

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