Luke 19: 1- 10 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”
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.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Many of us know this story from the familiar children’s song. I can hear it now: “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he . . .” But this man’s story is more than just a cute song. It provides us with an intimate look at Christ’s heart.
You may already know that tax collectors were considered the lowest of the low. The only profession I can think of today that might compare in status is the paparazzi. (So sorry if you are a paparazzi – no offense intended.) In that day, tax collectors preyed on the weak, they took advantage of people and exploited them for money. Yeah, they were wealthy. But nobody liked them.
The religious people, the holy, self-righteous people were indignant when Christ decided to go and have lunch with this man. I can just hear them. “Why, he could have chosen any of us to spend the day with. And he chose him. The nerve!”
But Jesus didn’t really care what they thought. Here was a man who was looking for Him. Here was a man who was so desperate to see Christ that he climbed up into a tree. Imagine! A grown man, climbing a tree just to get a look at a celebrity.
But Zacchaeus knew something was missing in his life. And he was hoping, just hoping that Jesus might provide a clue to the answers he was seeking.
Jesus did more than provide answers. He offered a personal relationship. That relationship changed Zacchaeus’ life.
And He holds out that same offer to each of us.
Jesus doesn’t care what we may or may not have done in the past. He doesn’t care who our parents are, or which side of the tracks we live on, or how many enemies we may have. He doesn’t care about the gossip and slander which may circulate around our names. And He certainly doesn’t care about what some self-righteous, holier-than-thou, Phariseical religious people think.
He just loves me. And He loves you.
He wants to be our friend.
And when we accept His offer of friendship, it will change our lives.
Dear Father, Thank You for overlooking my past and loving me anyway. Thank You for not caring about what others think of me – You love me even when no one else does. Thank You for being my friend.