Who is that man? Why did he climb up that tree? How curious did he have to be? What had he heard?
What did the crowd think, really? How harshly had that man drawn from the pockets of his own neighbors? How much did he have that he could so easily give away half, with nothing more than Jesus inviting himself over to his house? And speaking his name, when Zacchaeus knew he didn’t know him.
What an impact.
A man who draws a crowd comes up to you, you don’t know him, he truly shouldn’t know you, and he speaks your name. you have been fighting the crowd all your life, you were named a tax collector a while ago, you were reluctant to take the job, and at first you only took what was required, but then one time you were running behind and had a party the next week. And the people you collected from that week were rich anyway. So you asked for a little more. It was so easy. You could have stopped, but things kept happening, times continued to be short, people kept inviting you to parties, and you had to bring them something, and then invite them to your party later! Before you knew it, you were one of those tax-collectors. You didn’t mean to be. It just happened.
But when that man looked into your eyes, and spoke your name, such love was in that word that nothing else could feel as good as doing right in those eyes.
Who knows what would have happened if Jesus had not said “I must stay at your house.” Perhaps the town was planning to lynch Zacchaeus that very afternoon from the very sycamore he stood in to see the Savior passing by. What saving work did our savior enact when he brought that short man down out of that tree?
What happens in that “must” that Jesus must do? What happens when we are called into the presence of one who sees beyond our sinful actions?
What an amazing grace.
[Lectionary reflection on Luke 19:1-10]