19 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
The story of Zacchaeus is so inspiring. It shows God’s heart toward people so powerfully – a heart of inclusion of PLUS ONE!
Zacchaeus was marginalised – as much by his own actions as anything else, I mean who likes a tax collector, a chief tax collector at that! He was short – perhaps he had grown up the butt of many jokes and didn’t feel good about himself and so decided to ‘get back’ at people by being their tax collector – he had all the power then for a man who had never had power!
Jesus sees him and values him – so much that he goes to have dinner with him at his house, and he says so publicaly. This gets others offside – you can just hear them muttering, Jesus is meant to be better than that, he’s meant to know things…
Jesus does know things, He knows that valuing people, loving people deeply from the heart and showing this in actions of faith can change a person’s life and this is what happens! Salvation comes to Zacchaeus.
So I ask myself ‘where do I have opportunity to love and value others that I am not taking up’, ‘what about where I am and perhaps being maligned for it and so feel like pulling back’.
Father – give me the heart Jesus displayed to Zacchaeus for those around me.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta