Episode ThemeCommunity-Building: Love your enemies.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Do you know any obnoxious people? If you ever want to meet an unlovable person, you've got to meet Zacchaeus!
Why was Zacchaeus so obnoxious? He worked for the Roman government as a tax collector. He would go to all of the Jewish people and tell them how much money they had to pay. Zacchaeus was also a cheat. He would make the Jewish people pay more than they really had to pay. Then he would keep some of the money for himself. Everyone knew he cheated, but no one could do anything about it.
There was only one thing Zacchaeus didn't have: height. Most of his neighbors were tall, but Zacchaeus was short. That's why he had to climb the tree just to be able to see Jesus walking through his town.
Now, if you were Jesus, and you knew that Zacchaeus was cheating his neighbors, what would you do when you saw him in the tree? Would you give him a lecture? Would you ignore him? Would you make fun of him because he was short? Most of us would probably be mean to Zacchaeus, but not Jesus.
Jesus told Zacchaeus that He wanted to come to his house for dinner. All of Zacchaeus' neighbors thought that Jesus was making a terrible mistake. Zacchaeus was too unlovable for Jesus to be nice to him. After Jesus came to his house, Zacchaeus was different. He promised to pay back everyone he had ever cheated. Why? Jesus told Zacchaeus that God loved him.
Do you have a Zacchaeus in your life? A hurtful, obnoxious person that only Jesus could love? It's not easy, but Jesus tells us to try to love everyone. Ask Jesus for help. He's got lots of experience loving the unlovable.