Zacchaeus was the Chief Tax Collector in Jericho. A much hated puppet of the Roman government who regularly exploited and gouged his own people. But Zacchaeus had heard of this man Jesus and wanted to get a closer look…so he decided to do something completely undignified for man of his position…he climbed a tree. He climbed a tree for the practical reason that he was a short man in a sea of people…but, as the old saying goes, “to be up a tree” could be fitting for him also. When someone is “up a tree” they are in a difficult situation without a way of escape. Could Zacchaeus had sensed the hopelessness and desperation in his soul as Jesus approached? As Jesus came near the tree, He looked up, called Zacchaeus by name, and invited Himself to his house in one short interaction…but this encounter changed everything for Zacchaeus. For the seeker now had been sought by the Savior, and his life would be changed forever.
Last night our small group Bible study had quite a lively discussion on discrimination within the Church. We tend to be most comfortable at Church when everyone looks and acts like us. Our prejudice surfaces when someone outside that “mold” ventures into the Sanctuary seeking the Lord. Yes, they may not look like you…they may not have the same values or mores…but they are still a Child of God searching for the truth. We need to extend to them the same love that Jesus did…not judging, but supporting and encouraging as the Holy Spirit moves in their life.