Jericho was an important town, which sat at the junction of two trade routes. As a senior tax collector, Zaccheus would be a wealthy and important figure in the town – but not a popular one, because of his profession. Yet it seems that Zaccheus was not content with his wealth and position, for he was anxious to see Jesus and to know what kind of man he was. So much so that Zaccheus was prepared to set aside his dignity and climb a tree, in the hope of seeing Jesus. He knew that there was something more to life.
Jesus was aware of Zaccheus’ searching. Zaccheus would be labelled a ‘sinner’ by his fellow Jews, but Jesus didn’t accuse him. Instead, he called Zaccheus down from the tree and asked for his hospitality. This single encounter with Jesus, it seems, was enough to bring about repentance. Zaccheus undertook to change his life completely, and Jesus, in response, proclaimed that salvation had come to the house. The Son of God came into the world to seek out and save the lost, without exception. No one is excluded from God’s offer of salvation.