1. Jesus entered Jericho, although He was just passing through to Jerusalem where His earthly destiny would soon be fulfilled.
2. There was a man who lived in the city by the name of Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector. Zacchaeus was infamous for having built his fortune through the exploitation of the people in that area. He had illegally overtaxed them for years, had stolen from them, and had used the system to oppress and abuse them.
3. He had heard some of the buzz about Jesus, and wanted to see Him for himself as He passed by, but because he was short in stature, he couldn't see over the curious crowd.
4. So he, being the innovator that he was, ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him up close, since the route that Jesus was taking would lead Him that way.
5. When Jesus reached the spot where the tree stood, He looked up at Zacchaeus, and, without asking anyone who he was, called him by name, saying, "Zacchaeus, come down from there immediately! I must stay at your house today!"
6. So Zacchaeus jumped down from the tree at once, and welcomed him, excitedly.
7. All the people in the crowd heard and saw them make this connection, and, scandalized by it, began to gossip and complain about it. They said to one another, "Can you believe this? He has publicly embraced a known criminal, and has publicly invited Himself to the man's house!"
8. But later, after Jesus had graced his home with His presence and unconditional friendship, Zacchaeus stood up and said, "Lord! Your goodness to me has caused me to have a change of heart! Here and now I pledge to give half of my possessions to the poor...and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay him or her back four times the amount!"
9. Jesus said to him, "That's beautiful, my friend. And I announce that today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
10. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost in man's self-perception in relationship to God and the world around him."