Luke 19:1-10 (The Message) Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
In spite for the progress that’s been made in areas like racial and gender equality we as people are still fatally bent towards division, partisanship and classism. You don’t have to interact with someone for more than 5 minutes to find a list of things that put you and your new “friend” in different camps. Morally, religiously, politically…you name it. We judge ourselves perceptive and great judges of character that we can find that which is objectionable and worthy of segregating and alienating that person from us. But before you slap yourself on the back one more time for your skillfully honed discernment skills consider something with me for a moment. We draw lines between us and others based on what is different from us. Us of course being the one in the right(duh) aptly outfitted with scriptures that support us. Imagine what it must have been like for Jesus to leave the confines of heaven, packed with all that was congruent to all of who he was to grace the streets of earth rich with all that was 100% cross to him. It would take Jesus 1 second to list all the reasons that he wouldn’t be talking to this person or that THAT person but that’s not what he did. I mean even those that the world considered to be the religiously and morally “put together” Jesus would find to be morally repugnant. Jesus didn’t even run to those the world considered worthy he ran to what the world considered the bottom of the barrel and began to befriend them.
Everyone is looking for love, connection, value and for someone who gets them. I need it you need it. Next time you meet someone new before you begin the list of all the reason that you couldn’t be close to this person or why the person isn’t “worthy” of your time or love remember two things. First, there is some part of that persons story or person-hood to which you could say, “me too” and in that moment you’ve found a powerful connection point upon which to build. Second, Jesus who, totally in spite of us, loves us. With the 1000 things about me that are different then him, he still reaches towards me in love. This morning as I write my heart is filled with a desire to be more like Christ and love those around me more. I pray that something inside of you as well would say, “Me too”.