Luke 19:1 (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 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.”
A tax collector wasn’t like an IRS agent in our day, but more like a state-sanctioned thief who would collect taxes for Rome and keep part for himself. Hence Zacchaeus was a rich man, yet he was willing to sacrifice a bit of his dignity in order to see Jesus. Children climbed trees, not grown men. And certain not grown men of means like Zacchaeus. It was a sign to Jesus that God was doing a new thing in Zacchaeus. Jews despised tax collectors, but Jesus didn’t. The bible tells us to do likewise. This is a good word for those of us living in such a divided culture.