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THE STORY OF ZACCHAEUS

Orchid House Bible Story Time

 Yes, I know I’m short, knee high to a donkey you might say. Everybody looks down on me - in both senses of the word. Over the years I got used to people looking down on me, they grew taller. I didn’t.

 But it was the way I was treated that was hard to deal with. I was despised as an outcast, a traitor, a parasite - the lowest of the low. It was as if I had leprosy or a plague. People in Jericho would cross the road to avoid me. Nobody liked me. Everybody hated me. That hurt.

It was my job that was the trouble. Being so short the only decent job I could get was as a tax collector for the Romans, so being loathed and despised was the price I had to pay.  But the job had made me rich, very rich. As long as the Romans got their taxes in full and on time I could charge what I liked. Nobody knew what they were supposed to pay so I could charge what I wanted, and they had to pay up. It was a licence to print money.

Yes I was lonely, I did feel isolated, no friends to come and visit me. So there I was, big house, servants, plenty of the finest food and wine but no friends who were willing to come anywhere near.  I told myself that being rich made up for being lonely and hated, but all that changed the day I climbed a tree.

I’d heard of Jesus of Nazareth, and the things he’d been doing. And now he was coming through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem.

I wanted to have a look at this man. The whole town had turned out to see him. When I got to the town, the crowds were lining the road ten deep. I couldn’t see anything, being so little, and of course no one would let me through to stand with the children at the front. Then I noticed a sycamore tree with branches hanging over the road. I didn’t care how undignified I looked, I climbed the tree and hid in the branches, a good bird’s eye view. I really wanted to see this Jesus.

Continues ...

Bernard Atkinson
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