As Jesus heads back to Jerusalem, the Jews begin their annual preparation for Passover to celebrate their liberation from Egypt. It’s precisely during this national holiday when Jesus stops in the city of Jericho to meet with the chief tax collector, a man hated and feared for collaborating with the Romans and guilty of oppressing the Jews. Jesus deliberately stops his journey to take notice of a man searching for him.
Zacchaeus’ curiosity peaked at the news of Jesus’ arrival as he undoubtedly heard much about Jesus. Jews in Jericho would have openly debated the possibility of Jesus being their Messiah, his circle of tax collectors would’ve known about the great banquet Jesus attended (Luke 5.27-32), and perhaps he’d heard about some of the conversations Jesus had with his colleagues about “lost” things being “found.” Whatever it was, this oppressor’s interest in Jesus became a priority as he disregarded proper etiquette and ascended the tree.
Perhaps you can relate with Zacchaeus: you’ve heard a lot about Jesus but never caught a glimpse of him yourself. Or maybe you’ve caught a glimpse of Jesus but, unlike Zacchaeus, you haven’t yet gladly sought him out or welcomed him in.
No matter your past, Deuteronomy 4.29 says, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him. . .”
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