BUT BLIND Bartimeus was not the only man in Jericho who was eager to meet Jesus. In that city was living a very rich man named Zaccheus, who was the head of all the tax collectors in that part of the country.
He had heard that Jesus was unlike other Jews, in being friendly toward the tax gatherers, and he greatly desired to see him. But Zaccheus was a small man, and in the crowd he could have no chance to look at Jesus, so he ran on ahead and climbed up into a mulberry tree that stood beside the road, and from a place among its branches he could look down upon the passing multitude.
When Jesus came opposite to the tree, he stopped, looked up and saw Zaccheus, and said to him:
"Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for I must stop at your house today!"
He was surprised and glad that the great Teacher should choose his house, out of all the homes in Jericho, to stay in. He came down and walked with Jesus to his house. But all the people began to find fault, saying:
"He has gone to visit at the house of a man who is a sinner!"
For they took for granted because many of the tax gatherers were wicked men and robbed the people, that all of them were bad.
Zaccheus knew how they were feeling and what they were saying; so he came forward, and stood before Jesus and said:
"Hear me, Master! I will give half of all that I own to help the poor; and if I have robbed or cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much as he has lost!"
"Today," said Jesus, "in this house a man has been saved from his sins; since even Zaccheus here is a true son of Abraham our father. For the Son of Man has come to look after the lost ones and to save them."