“He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he 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.’…” (Lk 19: 1-6)
Zacchaeus is not able to see Christ in the crowd, and this isn’t only because he was short. Zacchaeus was despised by the crowd, and deservedly so, because he was a corrupt tax-collector. So, pushing his way to the front of this crowd would not have been an easy option for him; he may have ended up with a black eye.
Zachhaeus’s relationships with other human beings force him, a wealthy, accomplished man, up a tree. It’s the best he can do under these circumstances, which distance him not only from the crowd, but from seeing Christ. So the first thing Zacchaus resolves to do, after the Lord unexpectedly sheds His grace-filled light on Zachhaus’s predicament, is to make amends with others: “Lord,” he says, “…if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” (Lk 19: 8)
This Valentine's Day let me see if any broken relationships keep me from seeing Christ, from letting Him into my “house.” And let me become willing to make amends, where I can. Because my Lord is willing to enter my house, even among any mess I have made, if only I am willing to let Him in. “Lord,” I say today, come “to be the guest of one who is a sinner,” and shed Your light on my predicament. Amen.