Now a man named Zacchaeus


Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
Lk 19:1-10

On that same road as the blind beggar,Zacchaeus too wants to see who Jesus was yet he is hindered by the same crowds that blocked the blind beggar. While in the beggars case it was Jesus who took action on a faithfuls request, here Zacchaeus is the one who must take the initiative.It is that effort which gets notice and Jesus asks to stay at his house.Zacchaeus  does not let others block his view, or form his opinions.He places distance between himself and the distractions.Rather that rising above the crowd, he could have stood behind them or with them and listened to who they said Jesus was.They were upset Jesus went to the house of a sinner such as him while he embraced the opportunity for healing; as Jesus talks to him he leaps for joy. In his effort to see who Jesus was, he is rewarded with the forgiveness of sins. In his effort to rise above the crowds and their opinions, he finds acceptance.

Much of the reason  Zacchaeus was not accepted by the people had to do with his profession. In that society the tax collector set the amount of tax collected. They collected enough to satisfy the empire while being able to keep some for themselves. His wealth was an indication that his collection was excessive, though not illegal by Roman standards. By Roman ethics people that made a living through charging others were considered at the bottom of the social ladder. Jewish customs, the law of Moses, were likely compromised also out of the demands by the Roman Empire. His personal sin might have been to overcharge, though the crowds thought of tax collecting as a sin in itself. He can and does repent for his sin of overcharging. Can it be seen that he also rises above the cultural constraints the crowd put on him? Does he rise above the empire to enter into the Kingom of God?

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