Zacchaeus is one of those Biblical pericopes that still has not evolved past the bible school song for me. I hear Luke's story of the man that climbed the sycamore tree, and involuntarily start humming the tune that accompanies that story's narration.
So, when one of my classmates mention that his assignment for his preaching class was on today's Gospel, I was curious. Why should I care about this story? I asked.
So, he said, the story begins with the line: Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. So, where was he going? Wondered my classmate. He tolle lege-d and discovered that Jesus was passing through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem for the passover. He was on his way to die.
Knowing the trajectory of Jesus' travels, the entire story is imbued with a deep significance. As Christ is approaching the advent of his hour, the hour for which He came into the world, He stops, and encounters this smallest of men. Although Jesus is approaching the climax of his mission, which has cast its cruciform shadow over his whole ministry, he is drawn to care for this sinful human hiding in the Sycamore tree. The Son goes to save the entire world, but will pause that dramatic journey to save just one human being.
Is there any love more intimate?