Summary: God knows where you are, He knows who you are and He knows what your need is and He is able to supply that need if you will respond to Him when He comes calling.

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God cares enough about you to go off the beaten path in order to meet you and set up a meeting with you. cf the Samaritan Woman ...and He must needs go through Samaria.

Luke 19:2-9, "And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham."

Zacchaeus was determined to see Jesus because he must have heard something about Him. Whatever he heard stirred his inner longing. There must have been something he heard about Jesus that related to his needs.


a. Chief among the publicans (tax collectors).

b. Rich.

c. Short in stature, not in brains.

d. Disliked by the people (evidenced by the murmurs when Jesus went with him).

This extract gives a singular glimpse into the character of someone like Zacchaeus:

“He was a leader of the publicans -"the chief among publicans."

For a more successful levying of taxes by the Romans, the institution of the publicans was introduced, which had existed in Rome since ancient times. But while in Rome and throughout Italy publicans were recruited from an esteemed warrior class, in Judea the Romans were forced to engage publicans from the moral outcasts, from among Jews that agreed to go over to work for them and force their brothers to pay tribute.

The acceptance of such a position was bound up with a most profound moral fall. It was bound not only with national, but, above all, religious betrayal: to become a tool for the subjugation of the divinely chosen people by coarse pagans, one had to deny the hopes of Israel, everything holy to it, its dreams, and -- what is more -- since the Romans did not take into account the spiritual tribulation of their agents, upon accepting his position a publican had to swear a pagan oath of fidelity to the emperor, and bring pagan sacrifices to his spirit (the genius of the emperor). Of course the publicans served not only Rome's interests, levying taxes upon their own country men, but pursuing their own greedy goals and becoming wealthy at the expense of their subjugated brothers, they made the yoke of Roman oppression felt even more, and still more difficult to bear. This is who the publicans were. This is why they were surrounded by justifiable hatred and scorn; as betrayers of their people, having betrayed not only their people but a divinely-chosen one, God's tool in the world, the only people through which rebirth and salvation could come to mankind.

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