4 before Advent (2007) RCL Year A Principal
Out on a Limb…(pun intended)
Zaccheus is a very attractive figure from scripture, or rather the quaint story that we associate with him being a little man who shins up a tree to see Jesus is attractive to us. From the Sunday school song ‘Zaccheus was a very little man’ which I remember from ‘days of yore’ (whatever that means) to the wonderful transformation that sees him giving back what he took from others and following Jesus.
But I doubt he was a very attractive figure to those who knew him. We all know, I’m sure, that tax collectors like Zaccheus became rich by adding to the burden of tax demanded by the Roman authorities. Not only were they collaborators with an occupying power, but they were – more often than not – dishonest and greedy. They were not popular – so much so that one of the greatest insults hurled against Jesus was that he ‘ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners’.
Yet Jesus called him, invited himself to eat at Zaccheus house and changed his life. And in order for this to happen Zaccheus made the first move. He literally went out on a limb to see Jesus, and Jesus responded to that longing and met him where he was, giving Zaccheus a new purpose, a dignity and showing compassion and the grace of God to him.
There’s a lot of risk in this story [more]