Up a Tree

My morning’s reading about Jesus’ reaction to tax collector Zacharias was encouraging. The Jewish people had good reason to hate Roman tax collectors, but when one of their own took the job, they were really incensed. The Jews were heavily taxed. They had regular taxes plus an annual poll tax and a land tax and taxes on the transportation of goods. And, as religious Jews, they also had the temple tax and their tithes to pay. Zacharias was a chief tax collector supervising other tax collectors and so could have siphoned off even more money from the public. When they heard Jesus inviting himself to Zacharias’ house they were not happy. Although the text doesn’t say Zacharias himself was a thief, the people saw all tax collectors as greedy crooks taking advantage of them. But Jesus saw something different about Zacharias. He saw a repentant heart. It’s encouraging because it reinforces that no matter how awful someone’s reputation is or what terrible things they may have done, we’re not able to see their heart. Only Jesus knows what’s in there and also the very time they will repent of their actions and come to him. Only Jesus knows, not us.

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