Zacchaeus and Me
Luke 19: 1-10
My name is Jonah. You don’t know me but maybe you know about my uncle Zaccheaus? I’ve always just called him my Uncle Zach. That’s a lot easier to say than Zacchaeus. He’s been taking care of me ever since I was very little. My parents both died when they were attacked by robbers on the highway to Jerusalem from our home in Jericho. He was the only family left to me and he took me into his home and raised me ever since, just like I was his own son.
Most people in our town thought that Uncle Zach was just a rich thief before he met Jesus, but they don’t know him the way that I knew him back then. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t what you would call a really nice man. But, he worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed.
It was shortly after he took me in that I realized how rich he was. The Romans had conquered our country and appointed all of our government rulers. Uncle Zach was a tax collector for the Romans in our town. He was not only a tax collector for our town, he was also the head tax collector, so all of the surrounding town tax collectors brought the taxes that they collected to him. He kept part of what he collected and he took part of the money that the other tax collectors brought to him and then he paid the Romans what they were supposed to get. That made him very, very rich.
There were a few problems with that though. People in our town didn’t talk to us much. Most of the other kids wouldn’t play with me at school, especially once their parents learned who my uncle was. It was really lonely. Nobody liked Uncle Zach very much and because I was his nephew, they didn’t like me either. They didn’t like anyone that worked for the Romans. They especially didn’t like anyone that collected taxes for the Romans. People hated the Romans. They hated paying taxes to Rome and to the temple in Jerusalem. They especially didn’t like the fact that Uncle Zach could collect as much tax as he wanted. He just had to pay the Romans their share. He always collected extra. He told me that he just collected enough for an honest wage, but we sure lived well.
We lived in a really nice house. It was a really big house. It was the only one in town with a really big open courtyard in the middle of the house. It had lots of trees and a garden and a fountain and stuff. We also had places on the roof that we could go up and sit or sleep on hot nights. We had servants and horses and a chariot and sheep and goats and big fields to grow our food and plenty of everything that we could possibly want or need. Uncle Zach said that if we couldn’t have friends, we should at least be comfortable. But, all of that was before he met Jesus. That’s what I really want to tell you about. That was a really great day!
It began pretty much like any other day. It was warm and dry and a little windy. I was outside playing in the courtyard with my toy soldiers when I heard the people running by shouting that Jesus was coming to our town. There were rumors that there was a prophet who healed people and talked the way that no one else ever had about God. His name was Jesus and he was different from anybody else that I had ever heard of. People said that he could do anything.
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