You are invited to reflect on a powerful story found in the Gospel of Luke (Lk 19:1-10). It is the account of Jesus and his Spirit seeking, finding, and offering forgiveness and salvation to Zacchaeus.
“Zacchaeus was seeking to see who Jesus was….”
Jesus is passing through the town of Jericho, accompanied by his disciples and a curious, admiring crowd. Zacchaeus is part of that crowd, anxious to get a look at the Master. Jesus does not intend to stay at anyoneâ€™s house in Jericho, but is only passing through. Zacchaeus doesnâ€™t seem interested in becoming a follower of Jesus. He just wants to see this Jesus that everyone is talking about. Zacchaeus is curious, so he runs ahead and climbs a tree at the side of the road where Jesus will pass.
Now he can see Jesus coming up the road. As the crowd passes by, Jesus, moved by the Spirit, stops and looks up at Zacchaeus. Their eyes meet as Jesus gazes at the tax collector with a look of profound love that penetrates the sinnerâ€™s heart. Then, beyond his wildest imagination, Zacchaeus hears Jesus call him by name.
Jesus wants to stay at his house today. Zacchaeus is beside himself with joyâ€”he, a despised tax collector, a sinnerâ€”is to have the Master as his guest! Zacchaeus scrambles down from his perch on the tree. Critics in the crowd voice their displeasure at Jesus for choosing to go to the house of a sinner. But Zacchaeus has already been transformed by this encounter with Jesus.
Zacchaeus sees Jesus as the Lord who loves him and extends his mercy toward him. Zacchaeus had amassed a great deal of wealth, sometimes deviously. But now all that is going to change. He tells the Lord he will make restitution, and Jesus praises his faith and repentance in the presence of witnesses. Jesus has found a lost lamb; salvation has come to Zacchaeusâ€™ houseâ€”all because he wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus looked up at him.