He knew his name, he knew his livelihood as chief tax collector (not a good reputation), and still He said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:5) It doesn’t matter how small we are. It doesn’t matter how little importance we have in our communities. It doesn’t matter how small we think our contribution to the world might be. If we make the effort just to see Jesus, we will be seen. We will be able to hear His call to us. At that moment, Jesus must come to our house, because we are ready to receive Him.
Whenever we hear the story of Zacchaeus in church, I think of the little children’s rhyme of Zacchaeus climbing up the sycamore tree, “for the Lord he wanted to see.” However, as I listened yesterday, it struck me completely differently. This tiny man, both in stature and in the way he was respected by his community, was not tall enough to see Jesus as He walked to Jerusalem, but he was so determined that he climbed a tree. Just a glimpse would be enough. Little did he anticipate that Jesus would see his effort, call him by name, and say that dinner was on Zacchaeus that night.
Jesus knew exactly who this man was.