Luke 19: 1-10….How does Jesus handle a crook?

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And 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.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Comment: Why in the title do I call Zacchaeus a crook? Is to be rich evil? Not necessarily. Zacchaeus means ‘pure or innocent’ so maybe I’m wrong but as a tax collector he worked for the Romans and was seen by many as a traitor. Tax collectors became rich by adding and keeping for themselves more, sometimes much more, than the Romans demanded. So I think I’m right in calling him a crook but it doesn’t really make much difference as the people certainly saw him as a nasty specimen. Short and straddled on a branch up a tree he seems only interested in watching the procession pass. He didn’t call Jesus attention, Jesus called him. Different from our yesterday’s episode when the blind beggar was passionate to meet Jesus.

Jesus invited himself as a guest to eat and commune with this society reject. Zacchaeus obviously listened, heard the guts of what Jesus was saying, opened his heart to the message, changed his ways demonstrably. Jesus said “I came to seek and save the lost. Here is a victory where a crook is truly saved.’

Prayer: Let me hear if you call me, Jesus

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