Morning sun illuminates eyelids rousing the sleepless man from his bed.
Taxes! How I hate my job: tax collector for the enemy of my people. Rejected before the Romans came and rejected still. At least I have a job and wealth, that’s more than I had before they came. But today is the worst of all my scheduled rounds.
At the first stop he is tempted to pay the tax himself, “Blind Bartimaeus, feels like stealing from a blind man, yet HE had a job before I did: begging. I couldn’t beg to get a job, I was too small, too weak, and being told to ‘grow up’ and they’d hire me. Laughed at everyday but no one laughs at me now.”
Turning the corner, he hesitates. The rundown home and yard of the blind man has been fixed up; it's immaculate! Either someone helped Bartimaeus fix it, or else he died.
Nearing the door, it opens and reveals a well dressed man smiling. “Excuse me; do you know where I can find Bartimaeus?”
“Zacchaeus, it’s good to see you. Real good to see you.”
“I don’t believe I know you. How did you know my name?”
“I recognized your voice Zacchaeus. It’s good to SEE you.”
“Bartimaeus!? Is that you?”
“It’s me, my friend. I’ve been healed!”
“What? I mean, how?”
“Jesus of Nazareth. He restored my sight, and my life. He was the first person I ever saw and will be the first person I see after I die. Have you seen Him?”
“Well…no, I haven’t.” Lost in thought, he turns to leave.
“Did you need anything Zacchaeus? Zacchaeus?”
“Umm, no. I’ll talk to you later.” I’ve heard of him, this Jesus.
Now at Mary and Martha’s, he’s brought back to reality by the joyous singing coming from inside. How can they be celebrating when their brother died last week? They should be in mourning. I was going to be easy on them but not now! Full taxes or prison!
Pounding on the door, red faced with rage at this callous emotional display.
Seeing a dead-ringer for Lazarus appear, stepping back a gasp escapes. “Zacchaeus, won’t you come in and celebrate with us?”
“Lazarus? I heard you were dead. I didn’t go to your funeral because…I mean, this is you Lazarus, isn’t it?”
“None other. I heard it was quite a service.”
“So you didn’t die?”
“I was dead for four days.”
“But you are standing here, in front of me, as healthy as ever.” Mary and Martha join Lazarus placing their arms around their dearly returned brother.
“Jesus called me back to life. He will be coming here to visit sometime soon, perhaps today. Would you care to wait and join in some hymns with us?”
He’d never been invited into anyone’s home before. Zacchaeus is not quite sure what to do. Wanting to come in leaves him in a quandary. “Uh, no, I might come back later. Thank you though.”
“Sure, we’d love to have you.”
“Perhaps later. Thank you again.” ‘Love to have you.’ What’s going on? Jesus; how I’d like to see Him.
Distracted from collecting taxes by the morning’s events, he’s barely aware of a crowd forming along both sides of the street ahead.
“What is going one?”
“Jesus of Nazareth is coming this way; we want to at least get a glimpse of Him.”
A glimpse of Him? Why, I’d want to meet Him and talk to Him and…why wait here? I’ll move further up and perhaps…no, He wouldn’t want to talk to me, but at least I’d be able to see Him.
Running ahead he finds the crowd getting thicker and beginning to shout, “Hosanna, Jesus, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!”
What do I do? Spotting a nearby tree, he climbs up, balancing on a branch. There He is, right under me.
“Zacchaeus, come down for today I dine in your house.”
That moment, Zacchaeus is offered eternal treasures beyond his imagination.
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