Randy Newman sang a song "
Short people got no reason to live...
don't want no short people round me..." Like most Randy Newman songs, it's a catchy tune but the message is quite shocking at first listen. What the song is really saying is that short people are no different than any of us. Our body size, skin color, ethnic background does not make us any better or worse than any one else. We are all brothers and sisters from the day we are born until the day we die. Harboring prejudice against people because of the country they are from, their accent, or their income level really doesn't make sense. To denigrate another human being for their stature or race is really self-loathing! It's like saying, "I hate humans."
Zacchaeus was a short guy. We don't know whether the people of his time looked down on him or made fun of him because he was short. We do know that his culture looked down on him, and probably hated him, because of his behavior. He worked for the Roman government, the oppressors of the people of Israel. Many tax collectors were tempted to collect just a little bit more taxes than the government required to line their own pockets. So, he was a Roman sympathizer who took money the people did not have to serve the empire and, on top of all that, he was a thief!
There is a good chance that Zacchaeus did not have a lot of friends in his neighborhood and those he did have he probably "bought" with his money. But this little guy knew that his life was lacking something. His money had not brought the peace and satisfaction in life that he thought it would. We know this because this wealthy man with considerable authority ran and climbed a tree when Jesus came to town. Wealthy middle eastern men did not run or climb trees. Zacchaeus didn't care if he looked foolish. He wanted to to get a good look at Jesus and he was willing to humble himself to do it. There was a chance that this teacher had something that he desperately needed.
Jesus is drawn to the humble. He sees this short guy up in a tree and immediately likes him. Maybe Matthew, Jesus's disciple who was formerly a tax collector, whispered in Jesus's ear as they approached, "
That little guy in the tree is a tax collector in this city, and not a good one." Jesus sees what he needs to see and calls Zacchaeus to come down because he will be dining at his house this night and he will be staying there for the evening as well!
Zacchaeus is probably not used to people wanting to hang out with him or even associate with him unless they can get something out of it. Here is the teacher that everyone is talking about and he wants to hang out! He is overwhelmed. Jesus's invitation is all he needs to be changed. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll save the rest of the story for Sunday morning. I hope to see you there. Read the opening verses of Luke 19 to prepare yourself for the message.
Oh, and after the service we will have a short
"Family Meeting". Pastor Scott VanderPloeg will join us for a look at our goals for the coming year. Our Sunlight Elder Team and our Campus Leadership Team will be introduced as well.
See you Sunday! -Kris