Reflecting on Luke 19: 1-10
We can argue about Zaccheus all day. The Jews loathed him, since he made his living collecting the taxes the overlord Romans demanded. But some defended him, saying that if the Jews didn’t pay their taxes then the violent Romans would extract them themselves. Zaccheus was simply keeping the Jews alive and safe by keeping them in line with the demands made on them. That’s another way to look at him.
And then there’s this: Jesus’s companions on his long journey from Galilee down to Jerusalem were faithful and devoted people who, we can assume, would LOVE to have been called by Jesus and told he was having dinner with them that night. So who does he honor with that immeasurable grace? The vertically challenged, incredibly odious tax collector who climbs a tree on a whim and gets a better view than everyone else there. That’s not fair.
But here’s what Zaccheus will always have in his favor: he was seeking to see who Jesus was. Think about the people you know who have the Jesus Thing all figured out. He holds no mystery for them. They have deconstructed the miracles, googled “the culture” about him, and, perhaps sadly, put him away with all their other childhood dreams.
You know what? Zaccheus lived in the same kind of world. Prophets and would-be Messiahs were a dime a dozen. His Roman employers were cynical business men who would certainly have snickered at Jesus and his pitiful entourage. Nevertheless, he risked it all and climbed a tree, because, no matter how ridiculous he looks, he wanted to see Jesus.
That puts him way ahead of the game in our world today.
How can you inspire someone you love to want to see Jesus?
Kathy McGovern ©2016