Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.
They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’
And 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 has come to seek out and save what was lost.’
Zacchaeus was anxious to see what kind of a man Jesus was, but Jesus was to reveal what kind of a man Zacchaeus was. And Jesus was to reveal that not only to others, but to Zacchaeus himself.
Zacchaeus may equivocate a little as to his previous cheating, but he knows himself loved and called to love and healing sometimes takes longer than we might hope for.
Indeed, that Zacchaeus equivocates but his story of conversion is still remembered, may give us hope. For surely the time comes, and maybe again and again, when we acknowledge our own equivocations. We may oft times resist the truth about ourselves fearing that it will lead us to humiliation. But the truth is good and the truth is love, and though it will surely lead fragile and fallible folk, such as us, to humility, it is never intended to harm, only to restore us to our real dignity – often put in jeopardy only because of our fear.
- What of God’s call and the opportunities to love do you resist?
- Any idea why?
- Bring these things to God in prayer.
Zacchaeus? Fragment of carved arch. Hermitage, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.