5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
Zaccheus was not at all a type of man that anybody would expect to be Jesus’s aquaintance. He was a:
1. Short man – It would have been difficult for him even to see Jesus!
2. Chief tax collector – During that period this profession was infamous for their fraudulent activities.
3. Rich– Jesus himself said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”(Luke 18:25). We can also see the rejection story of a rich man who was unwilling to sell his possession.
4. Sinner – It requires no special explanation!
So, basically he was not the ‘good category’ person. Zaccheus himself was well aware of all these characteristics of him. But when Jesus passes by the city, he calls Zaccheus by name! And the ‘call’ was almost like speaking to a close friend of Jesus!
Imagine we are passing by the city of a close friend. We know where the friend would be in the city. So as soon as we reach the place we stop our journey and tell him, “Hey buddy(name), come fast! I am staying at your home today! “. Since he is a close friend we would be taking the freedom to say our decision without any need of formality. Similar was Jesus’s reaction! Without any sort of introduction Jesus just told him plainly, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” That was not the tone of a casual friend but it was the tone of a close friend!
Now why would Jesus have such a ‘weird’ choice?
Even the people grumbled at Jesus’s reaction at Zaccheus. But despite possessing many negatives, Zaccheus seeked Jesus. Being well aware of his negatives he tries to seek a way to see Jesus. He takes the effort to climb into a sycamore tree only to see Jesus. And as soon as he meets Jesus he confess his sins and enthusiastically offers to help the poor! He even offers to give back four times what he earned from his fraudulent activities. God is looking for a ‘seeking heart’ willing for a change! The ‘moment’ he met Jesus, it was a turning point in his life!
We might be a person with more negatives than Zaccheus but if we seek God, He will be our best friend. It is only a matter of ‘meeting Jesus in person’, ‘a point of confession‘ and a ‘willing heart for change‘. And the beauty of the whole situation is, ‘Zaccheus didn’t know Jesus close enough until he met Him, but Jesus knew Zaccheus before they even met!’
God bless you!