"Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house". So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
(Luke 19:5b-6 NKJV)
Two characters, among others, in Luke's story have the honor of receiving Jesus for lunch at their home: Zacchaeus and Simon. The former was chief tax collector and very wealthy, probably because of the work he was doing on behalf of the Roman oppressor. Two elements that made him unpopular with the people, and would make the reader feel like a desperate case, a hopeless lost in the eyes of God. Yet he wished to see Jesus. When he knows of his passage along the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, he catches the opportunity and decide not to miss it. Unfortunately, the pending leak is great, the crowd does not allow him a good view of the road because he has to deal with his short stature. A powerful and wealthy man, but who is limited by his physique. How to do? There are no limits that can prevent us from reaching the Master. Zacchaeus looks around and sees a sycamore tree, a fairly tall tree. Without hesitation he climbs onto it, managing once again to rise from the crowd. From there it enjoys a unique view, and in addition among the foliage it is also sheltered from hostile glances. The crowd has warmed up, the clamor is loud, here is the Christ and his who are coming. That silhouette went gradually defining itself to the eyes of Zacchaeus, until it arrives just below him. His wish had been fulfilled.
Now he could also go down and return to his jobs. But the unpredictable happens. Jesus looks up at the tree and calls him by name: "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house ". I find it hard to imagine the reaction of those around the tree or following the Lord. Zacchaeus' fame is also known to Christ, who decided to stay in his house. Once again the doctor came for the sick, and Jesus looked for what was lost. The tax collector does not hesitate in the least, on the contrary, he is assailed with great joy. He who was discarded by his people is chosen by Jesus. Salvation enters his house, and his reaction shows how ready his heart was. Unlike Simon, the Pharisee, who had invited Jesus to lunch with him (Luke 7:36-50). Simon also wanted to know him more closely. He had listened to him several times, but like all the Pharisees he found it hard to believe. Probably that meal had to provide him with further data to strengthen his beliefs about Jesus. The episode of the woman who enters the house and tears the Lord's feet with tears and then anoints them with a precious perfume steals the show, but allows Simone to express what he thought: "If He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner" (v. 39).
When his person is in doubt, Jesus lays bare the condition of the Pharisee, who had invited him home, but who was not at all hospitable to him: neither washing of the feet, nor a welcome kiss . He is missing the opportunity to receive divine forgiveness, unlike the woman who understood who he is anointing his feet with. I fear that many times we invite the Lord to be with us, but then we behave like Simon. We are there to observe and criticize His work, we get lost in judging the behavior of others, while we remain impassive. We invite him more for others than for ourselves. Where instead is the joy that Zacchaeus feels? The readiness to open your home, to give your best and to be willing to remedy even any damage caused? This week the Lord wants to stay at your house. Are you ready and available?
Weekly Bible Reading Plan
January 13 Genesis 31-32; Matthew 9:18-34
January 14 Genesis 33-35; Matthew 10:1-20
January 15 Genesis 36-38; Matthew 10:21-42
January 16 Genesis 39-40; Matthew 11
January 17 Genesis 41-42; Matthew 12:1-23
January 18 Genesis 43-45; Matthew 12:24-50
January 19 Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30