Whether or not you grew up in church or not, the name Zacchaeus is probably familiar. He’s the, hmm, “vertically challenged” gentleman who shimmied his way up a tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus. But the backstory is where it gets interesting, and this all happens a couple of days before Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Jesus had just punctuated a long day of teaching by performing a very public miracle: He gave a blind man his sight. It’s no wonder a huge crowd was following him as he entered Zacchaeus’s hometown of Jericho. Jesus was en route to Jerusalem, where he was going for the annual Passover celebration. As it happens—and as he seems to have known—this would be his final Passover.
So here we have Jesus, at the height of his earthly influence, with crowds following him and hanging on to his every word. And he crosses paths with a suspicious-looking character perched on a sycamore tree limb. If that’s not odd enough, add to the mix that, in his line or work, Zacchaeus was known to intentionally rip people off. And do you know what Jesus does as a large crowd looks on? He tells Zacchaeus he wants to come to his house!
Have you ever had someone treat you like that? Someone who knows the stuff you’re embarrassed about but still wants to be your friend? If you have someone like that in your life, you indeed have found one of life’s greatest treasures.
Here’s the great news: God is exactly like that. Times a thousand. When Jesus was about to head to Zacchaeus’s house, he told the people around him the point of that whole exchange: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
No matter who you are or what you’ve done, Jesus wants to come to your house.