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More Than a There
Know anybody whose first name is “There”? No. Well, then, permit me to introduce you to one—me, the writer of this piece. That’s right. Although I’ve not been aware of it in the past, I’m a “There”. Sound silly? Ah, well, nevertheless, as most recently, in going about my daily routine, I sometimes would be greeted with a, “Hi There,” or “Hello There.” (Or in Southern dialect, “Hey There.”) Consider it for a moment; maybe you’re a “There” as well?
How do you, or would you, respond to such a greeting? As for me, I have responded, “My name is Charles, not “There.”
Not so with Jesus. I’m not a “There” in His Book. He knows my name, as He knows us all—by name, and “up close and personal” as well, even closer and more personal than I know myself, He the Author of my existence—of all my days. “[He] saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in [His] book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed,” Psalm 139:16.
He called me by name. He calls us all by name. As He had called that little man and chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, sitting high up in that sycamore-fig tree to catch sight of Jesus as He passed by (Luke 19:1-4). I’m reminded of a song about that little man I had learned in Sunday school when I was a child:
"Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see.
And when the Savior passed that way, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus! Quick come down! I must be a guest in your house today,” Luke 19:5.
And notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Hey you there, in that tree.” No, Jesus called him by name.
“In great excitement and joy,” so renders the NLT, “Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house,” Luke 19:6.
The Better Name
Jesus went with him, even amidst the displeasure and grumbling of the people. As the Life Application Study Bible notes, “Tax collectors were among the most unpopular people of Israel.” Yet popular with Jesus; He loves all people, no matter what their social standing, moral character, or political views may be. And He knows each by name.
After his visit with Jesus, Zacchaeus turns from his cheating and corrupt ways (Luke 19:8-9). So is the course of events today when Jesus is invited into another’s “house”— yours’, mine—another’s life. Hence, the name of Jesus is the better name, as “God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
And meeting Jesus a happier person that “wee little man”, Zacchaeus, had become, for he had seen the Lord that day, and invited Jesus to come to his house, and in his life, claiming that better name of Jesus.