This episode is the first of three scriptural reflections that will anchor the biblical part of this workshop. Sarah Jobe (from Duke University & Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women) helps us unpack Zaccheaus as a potential model. Zaccheaus is curious about Jesus – he wants to see him – but as a tax collectors he seeks a safer, more comfortable space in the tree. Jesus looks straight up at him and says “come down!” We worship and believe in a God that doesn’t let us stay in the trees of our own choosing.
Jesus invites himself over to Zaccheaus’ house - his oikos. In other words asking to be let into Zaccheaus’ household economy (oikonomia).
Zaccheaus immediately(!) says Yes! He bravely climbs down from the tree and into the crowd that might grumble against him.
Later, Zaccheaus stands up and says he’ll give half his wealth to the poor and pay back 4 times over what had been unfairly taken.
The encounter with Jesus calls Zaccheaus into a different arrangement with his wealth.
Sarah ends with “Leave no part of your life untouched by your call”
Sarah offers us these reflection questions:
What is your tree?
Who is standing underneath it?
When you look at the wealth you have access to – where is it coming from? On whose backs has it been gathered?
Get down from the tree to be in the midst of those people. Jesus is already there.
You can read more about Sarah Job here: