During the time Jesus was on the earth he met many different people. As a result of these meetings, the people’s lives were changed. No one more so than Zacchaeus the tax collector.
Being a tax collector in those days made you very unpopular with everybody. Your job was to take money from the people and hand it over to the Romans, who as the occupying force were unpopular with the locals. Zacchaeus the tax collector was rich because he took more money off the people than he needed to and kept the extra money for himself. But he was not happy.
He discovered that Jesus was coming to his town and felt the great teacher might help him. Zacchaeus was determined to meet him but when he got to the place where Jesus was due to arrive, there were crowds of people there first.
Zacchaeus being short of stature, could not see over the heads of the crowd. And no one was going to let Zacchaeus get to the front. In desperation he climbed a sycamore tree in order to get a better look. In doing that he opened himself up to ridicule. However he thought it would be worth it.
And it was, when Jesus passed by his tree and informed him that he would be visiting Zacchaeus later that day.
Zacchaeus was surprised that out of all the people Jesus could have spent time with, Jesus chose him. The people had wanted Zacchaeus to change his ways but they were not prepared to give him the time of day.
Jesus however was different. He made time for Zacchaeus. And as a result of Jesus’ kindness towards him, Zacchaeus repented and volunteered to pay back several times over the money he had cheated the people out of.