This Week's Story

A Roman stooge and dishonest tax-collector, Zacchaeus, escapes a crowd's squeeze.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

I'm coming to your house today!

Sand, heat, and voices were tumbling in the air as the crowd grew larger and larger.

A boy shouted, “Mom, he’s coming! Hurry! I want to see him!”

A neighbor urged her husband, “Jacob, stop working. Jesus is here, inside Jericho.”

A woman dashed out her front door. “Miriam, get your sisters; all of them.”

Up on a housetop a man asked, “Ezra, help me lift your brother. If we can get him to Jesus, maybe he will heal your brother’s club foot.”

Voices came chanting down the street. “The blind beggar sees. Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah; yes he sees! Yes he sees!”

Zacchaeus was at the back of the crowd trying to squeeze through and somehow see Jesus. Where was he? He must be somewhere in this mass. Zacchaeus strained to stand tall, sucked in his stomach, and stood on his toes. How frustrating to be so short! He ignored nasty looks sent his direction. Some people added insults.

“Hey shrimp, can’t you see?”

“Go home. Get a ladder or better yet, stay home!”

“You could get some of the money you’ve been taking from us. Maybe you could bribe Jesus into giving you some inches.”

“Rotten Zacchaeus isn’t one of us!”

Zacchaeus sprinted to the side, past the crowd and ahead to a large spreading sycamore tree. He scrambled up to a branch where he could watch for Jesus. He wondered, “Will he see me, when he passes?”

Jesus came, and paused below the tree. “Zacchaeus, come down. I’m going to your house today.”

Zacchaeus chuckled in surprise and slid down the tree. “Oh, Jesus, thank you. I will be honored if you will be my guest. Please bring the men who travel with you. I wish them also to be my guests.”

Jesus looked at him and smiled. Many people around Jesus weren’t smiling. They were offended and muttering, “We came to see miracles. It isn’t right for Jesus to spend time with this scoundrel.”

“My son has seizures. I hoped he could be healed.”

“Doesn’t Jesus know that Zacchaeus is a Roman stooge?”

“I hate Zacchaeus! A tax-collector for the enemy—Roman pigs!” The speaker spit on the ground.

“We know that Zacchaeus is disloyal, a rich powerful extortioner. He fraternizes with Romans in the palace of Herod Antipas and eats unapproved foods.”

“Traitor!”

Zacchaeus ignored everybody but Jesus. As Zacchaeus entered his home he called his wife and joyfully introduced Jesus to her. “Jesus, we will have a wonderful meal together. My wife is a good cook.

“Can we talk together? Master, I promise you that I am going to give half of my wealth to the poor. If I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times what they overpaid.”

Zacchaeus’ wife gulped awkwardly. “How can my husband do that? How rich is he?”

Jesus spoke, “Today salvation has come to this home.”

Zacchaeus quivered with excitement. “He accepts me. I am forgiven!”

He said, “Jesus, even if the Romans reject me and my people hate me, I will obey you.

Jesus looked at Zacchaeus and the curious faces gathered around and told them, “I have come to seek and save people like Zacchaeus, who are lost.”

Zacchaeus said softly, “I am found.”

This is Barbara Steiner with a Bible story from Luke 19 of unexpected acceptance. Please check out this weeksstory.com.

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