Visit the Whosoever Bookstore
Or search Amazon.com for books related to GLBT people and Christianity.
Christianity Book Search
If you live in Canada, follow
Christianity Book Search -- Amazon.ca
If you live in the UK, follow
Christianity Book Search -- Amazon.co.uk
Join the Whosoever Community:
Read More Whosoever:
Lepers, Loons and Losers
Part 7: Zacchaeus
(Jesus) entered Jericho
and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus
--Luke 19: 1
When it comes to compiling a list of favorite
people, not too many folks would place tax collectors on the list. When
people touch your money, they touch something deeply important to you.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector. That was bad enough. But Zacchaeus had
the added baggage of being a tax collector for a repressive, violent foreign
government, a job that came with its fair share of graft, kickback and
corruption. The gospel describes Zacchaeus as being "small." This not
only describes his physical stature but also the kind of life decisions
he had made. He had chosen to be small of soul and of heart when it came
to dealing fairly with his fellow Jews.
Then comes Jesus. The rabbi's reputation preceded him, sparking Zacchaeus'
interest. Perhaps he had heard him preach, or, at least, had heard some
of what he taught. This had peaked his interest. So when word comes that
Jesus was going through town, Zacchaeus wanted to see him. Imagine the
people who line up for hours at the Oscars or the Emmys to see the stars
pass by and you get the picture.
He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he
could not, because he was short of stature. --verse 3
Being short, Zacchaeus could not see. But he was not going to let this
moment pass him by. So, at the risk of looking foolish, this corrupt,
hated official scampers up into the branches of a nearby tree to catch
sight of Jesus.
Jesus draws near and looks up into the branches to the partially concealed
tax collector. Did Jesus see him climb up there? Had he heard people grumble
against him? Or did Jesus sense that the heart of this little man was
ready for growth, ripe for conversion? The gospel is silent about this,
but the humor of the moment could not have been lost on him. Jesus looks
up and calls him by name. These two men had supposedly never met, yet
now the Word utters the name and both recognize each other; emptiness
in the face of fullness, the promise of wholeness before the reality of
"Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today
Jesus once more reaches out to one despised by his neighbors and labeled
a "sinner." Yet when Jesus invites himself over to Zacchaeus' home, a
change comes over this hated soul. Somehow the entrance of the Light of
the World into his personal world dispels his inner darkness and he decides
to clean up his act.
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and
now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated
anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." --verse
We are not told how the crowd reacted to this conversion experience.
Perhaps their self-righteous was deflated. Perhaps they were angry that
they had lost their convenient whipping-boy. Perhaps a few at least were
pleased with this change taking place. We do know how Jesus reacted:
"Today salvation has come to this house, for the Son of Man came to
seek out and save the lost." --verse 10
From time to time we all get lost, we all wander into places and occasions
we should stay away from. Jesus understands this all too well; it does
not surprise him in the least. That is why, possibly, he invited himself
to Zacchaeus' house. He knew that, as beaten down as he had been, the
tax man would never have invited Jesus himself.
Maybe you feel you have wandered too far, been away too long, for Jesus
to ever wish to dine with you, to share the road with you, to stoop down
and carry you. Well, you would be wrong, wrong, wrong! Jesus loves you.
This is not some trite expression. He sees you as you are, he sees what
you can become with his help, guidance and strength, and he lovingly asks
to be allowed to relax awhile with you.
So get out of your tree, open the door, put the coffee on...and be at
Read Tom Yeshua's series from the beginning:
Copyright © by the author
All Rights Reserved
Back to the Table of Contents