He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. (Luke 19:1-4. ESV.)
Okay, let me stop there for a moment. There is a man "small of stature" in a tree! How quick would (some) individuals be to judge Zacchaeus for such an action...especially if one did not have all of the information?
Have you ever been judged by others who only had a piece of the puzzle? Let's say it's a massive one of 10,000 pieces and the assessor has one part...and maybe it's out of order so the picture does not make much sense. Yet still, a judgement is made.
(Back to Zacchaeus.) Perhaps a voice pipes up from the crowd and yells mocking and/or hurtful things....making uninformed accusations and/or calling names. Has something along these lines ever happened to you? Now, let's finish reading the passage.
5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. (Luke 19:5 & 6. ESV.)
Wow! What an honor! To have his teacher, Lord (and, one day, Savior) come stay at his place! Yikes! If I was around in those days and Jesus showed up at my door I would have felt grossly inadequate and most likely embarrassed at the status of my house (which is in desperate need of some home improvements)! And what do you think those spewing negativity said or did?
7And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7. ESV.)
But Jesus had chosen Zacchaeus! It did not matter what humans thought or said! Their words and actions meant nothing! Their pride held no weight! Their foolishness was in vain. Zacchaeus was right to take refuge in the Lord rather than to trust in (or listen to) man (Psalm 118:8).
8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:8-10.)
Not Peace, but Division
But, Luke 12:49-53 reminds me of something sobering. It says,
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (ESV.)
And I have witnessed this to be true! Families divided. But the Word of God also tells me,
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:3.)
Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. - Oscar Wilde