You know that song? Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. I don’t like it. It misses the point of the story. Zacchaeus’ defining factor was not his height. Like Napoleon: no one cares about his height, but for the irony that he is Napoleon. No one would give two sycamores how tall Zacchaeus was, if not that he was rich, too.
Zacchaeus was rich. And he didn’t have many friends, because no one noticed that he was in the tree. If they did notice, they just pointed and laughed with their neighbors. No one said, “stand next to me and I’ll tell you what Jesus looks like.”
Zacchaeus went up the tree because “he was trying to see who Jesus was.” But instead, Jesus saw him. Jesus saw him not as a benefactor or a patron. Jesus didn’t say “I’m going to your house because I know you’ve got high thread count sheets and I could use a good night’s sleep.” Jesus did the thing he always did: he looked for the people on the margins and pulled them to the center. It just so happened, in this town, the one in the margins was the wealthy tax collector. Continue reading