At the beginning of Zacchaeus’ tale, we find a crooked man who is curious about Jesus. He is bold enough to go after what he wants. He is a ‘little person’ who is used to being stared at. Perhaps this has shaped his boldness.
Like all of us, he has ways of compensating for insecurity, weakness and rejection.
Some find a false security in drugs, alcohol or sex. Some create elaborate public images that they can hide behind. Wealth and power can mask the inner poverty and weakness.
But Zacchaeus hears about Jesus and runs up a tree to catch sight of this holy man. This is very important to him. He is seeking Jesus.
When Jesus comes close, we find out that Jesus is actually seeking Zacchaeus. Who is seeking whom? His immediate request for hospitality shows that Jesus is not above Zacchaeus. He accepts him and wants to be drawn into the hospitality that Zacchaeus can provide.
Why would Jesus want to enter the home of Ebenezer Scrooge? Why would he show favour to such a notoriously, despised white collar crook?
This acceptance and bold love is really quite transformative. Zacchaeus comes into clarity about his faults and desires a great change in the way he treats people. He wants to love radically because he has been shown such indiscrimate love.
Jesus knows that Zacchaeus is a lost sheep in the House of Israel and concludes that he has come to seek and save that which is lost. Jesus seeks before he saves. Jesus still is seeking for men and women who are lost.