Reading: Luke 19:1-6
Verse 5: “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
Today and tomorrow we look at the story of Zacchaeus. This is a very familiar story. It even has its own song! In the story, Jesus is passing through Jericho, Zacchaeus’ home town. But it is not like home. Zacchaeus is a tax collector. He is in partnership with the Romans. The heavy taxes that they demand are collected by people like Zacchaeus. And a perk of the job was the power to collect a little extra for oneself. This double strike against him is what led Zacchaeus to climb the tree. Besides being short, being in a crowd might not have been good for him. Tax collectors were that hated.
As Jesus comes along, he paused at the tree. He looks up and calls Zacchaeus by name. To one who was probably disliked by even his own family, Jesus says, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” The one who was hated and despised by many is loved by Jesus. Isn’t that just like Jesus? It was the same with all from the margins – the woman at the well, the lepers, the one caught in adultery, the demon-possessed. If this is Jesus’ way of being in the world, shouldn’t we too model this kind of behavior?
To that point, who do you know that is out on a limb, that is down in the gutter, that is struggling with poverty, or that is otherwise existing on the fringes of society? And more importantly, how will you invite them into your love and into Jesus’ love?
Prayer: Lord, who is it that you want me to see today as I pass by? Open my eyes and my heart today to really see, to really love. Use me today to show someone that they too are loved. Amen.