The story of Zacchaeus takes place in Luke’s Gospel 19:1-10.

Today I heard a new and more interesting take on these verses in the Gospel.  The typical interpretation has it that Zacchaeus was the typical tax collector of those days, cheating and gouging his fellow Jews on the behalf of his Roman masters, and is a story of repentence.

The other take is to read the subtext in the following verse “If I have cheated anybody, I will repay him four times the amount.”  There is no mention of repentance, and no admission of guilt.  Before you say I am blasphemous read on.  His tone seems indignant.  And yet our Lord JC still says, I will stay at your house.  So how to reconcile these facts?

Could it be that Zacchaeus was misunderstood?  Misjudged?  No lah… how can it be… he’s a tax collector what… they’re all scum…

A bit judgemental are we?  Have we been misjudged before?  We have definitely misjudged before.

What the Gospel could be saying is that Zacchaeus is a good man, maligned and misjudged by the mere fact he is a tax collector.  Condemned by the rumours about him. (Not all lawyers are bad these days too y’know.)  Our Lord is therefore saying, I see your heart and it is good.  I will dine with you tonight.  You are alright!

And this interpretation offers us another perspective on this, and that is not to misjudge, for we are often misjudged ourselves.  We may see ourselves often in Zacchaeus’ shoes, but think harder and we are part of the crowd just as often.

To summarise and to tie both interpretations together is the invitation to accept Christ, for he sees our hearts, calls us to repent and judges our hearts.

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