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  • Wayne Chasney

Why does Jesus eat with 'them'?

Jesus looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." (Luke 19:5b-7)

There he goes again. This time he’s off to eat at the house of Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus wasn’t just another tax collector. He was the chief tax collector. They were all corrupt cheats who made themselves rich at the expense of others. They all cooperated with the Romans to take more and more of people’s money. But when they all got together at night, you know, they all called little Zacchaeus boss!

Of all the people standing along the road as Jesus passed through Jericho, he chose him. What about the rabbi’s, the teachers of the faith? What about the leaders of the synagogue who did so much to help so many? What about the hard-working men and women who did their jobs and paid their taxes and led lives of quiet devotion to God? Any one of them would have gladly welcomed Jesus to their table, but no. No, he chose Zacchaeus.

Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Whose side is Jesus on? He’s going to get a reputation, you know, hanging out with the “wrong” kind of people. What kind of teacher wants to be known for hanging out with “tax collectors and sinners”?

Sure, maybe it worked out alright this time. Let’s wait and see if Zacchaeus really does change his ways and pay back everyone he cheated. That would be nice. But I don’t see how Jesus can change everyone. Some people are too set in their ways to ever change for the better.

When will Jesus learn? When will he stop wasting his time on “them”?

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