Luke 19:1-10 Common English Bible (CEB)
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. 2 A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” 6 So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.
7 Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One came to seek and save the lost.”
Zacchaeus is one of the best-known characters in the Bible. That’s probably because of his shortness of stature. When were children, we might have identified with this character, because like him we often found it difficult to see over the crowd. Whether we were brave enough to climb a tree, we understood why Zacchaeus might have tried this ploy so he could see Jesus. What we might not have understood is why everyone around Jesus thought it odd that Jesus would want to eat with Zacchaeus. This whole business about tax-collectors being bad people requires a few more details than children might be ready to absorb. Perhaps the lesson would have something to do with Jesus loving short people (including children).