He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way - he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd.
So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home."
Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him.
Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?"
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master, I give away half my income to the poor - and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages."
Jesus said, "Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham!
For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost."
While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God's kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story:
"There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return.
But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, 'Operate with this until I return.'
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)