I ran inside to tell my Uncle Zach that Jesus was coming and he got a real curious look on his face. A look like he could see something far, far away that I couldn’t see. Then, he jumped up and ran out of the house. I followed him as long as I could, but I couldn’t keep up with him for very long. Even though he was pretty short, he could really run fast.
When I finally caught up with him, he was trying to see Jesus in the crowd, but he had a problem. You see Uncle Zach is really short. I mean that he is really, really short. When I was about 10, he was just a little taller than me. You should have seen him trying to see Jesus. He tried to push through the people to get to the front of the crowd, but no one would let him through. He tried running around to the edge of the crowd, but people kept blocking his way. Finally, he shinnied up a Sycamore tree and was watching the crowd of people with Jesus walk by. There were a lot of people there that day. I had never seem so many people before and I could hear them talking about Jesus, so I figured that Jesus had to be in the middle of that crowd.
I went over to the tree that Uncle Zach had climbed and tried to climb up after him, but I couldn’t do it. That’s when I heard him speak for the first time. Jesus, I mean. He was telling my Uncle Zach to come down from the tree because he was going to have dinner with us. He said, “Zacchaeus! Quick, come down for I must be a guest in your home today.”
The crowd got really quiet for a minute and then people started complaining that Jesus was going to have dinner in the house of a sinner. They were calling my Uncle Zach a sinner! They called him scum! That made me real mad! Those people were saying that Uncle Zach was a sinner just because he collected taxes for the Romans!
Anyway, Uncle Zach jumped down from that tree and ran home faster than I’d ever seen! You should have seen him leaving a cloud of dust, holding his robe up so that it didn’t get in the way of his legs as they ran. It was a little funny to watch.
By the time I got home, all the servants were running around like crazy getting the house ready for a big dinner. I had never seen such a commotion. Except for the Roman soldiers that stopped by once a month to pick up the tax money, we didn’t get many visitors.
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