Author’s Note: As a dedicated fan and often poor imitator of Jesus Christ, I’ve sought to “follow” him as he so famously requested in scripture. As I find myself identifying with his social proclivities I’m curious as to what really went on at all the parties and events he attended. So I’ve decided to write fictional accounts of all of the parties Jesus went to, as modern-day emails to God the Father.
For more biographical information on the life of Jesus, read this. For the Biblical account of this event, read this. And for the first two installments…seriously, do I have to do everything for you???
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
It’s been a while since I sent you an email. I know, I never call, I never write…I just commune with you constantly because you and I are one. Not that I don’t love our dance with the Spirit. I know you know that I know that you know that I do. But it would rage to have all of our children dance with us again too. In fact, that’s the story I wanted to tell you today.
I recently went through Jericho on my way to Jerusalem. There’s this guy who lives there, Zacchaeus. How can I describe him…well, for all intents and purposes, he used to be a major asshole. Like, he was kind of the worst. He’s a tax collector and built his fortune around extorting money from his fellow Jews on behalf of the Roman
oppressors occupiers government. He’s also short–which is nothing against him–so there’s a whole lot of overcompensating going on. But…he’s OUR Zacchaeus. And so I went to go find him.
Here’s the thing about Zacchaeus: for all his–shall we say, assholery–he was curious about what I had to say. Is your mind blown? Of course it’s not. You already know all this. Anyway, call me a hipster, but I love me off the beaten path finds. Listen, I invented irony! Only instead of collecting vinyl from obscure 80’s French neo-punk bands, I look for people. Especially the ones no one wants, who are scratched up and ridden with sin. As if I can’t or won’t clean off their metaphorical crap so they can be who we always wanted them to be in the first place.
I went to go get my teaching on and sure enough, Zacchaeus comes by. He thought no one would notice him since he’s so short. He climbed up a sycamore-fig tree so he could see me (and thought that I couldn’t see him). A little guy like that could definitely hide there. And you know, I couldn’t blame him. He’s a bit of a dick and the crowd of religious people that follows me around waiting to pounce on me aren’t the most, um, welcoming group of people.
But way to rock some clever foreshadowing, Zacchaeus! You’re not the only dude who’s gonna end up in a tree. Only instead of you coming down to find me, I’m gonna get raised up on a wooden cross to meet you. And instead of hiding who I am from the world in a safe place, I’m going to wear your shame and be stretched out for everyone to see.
It’s so nice that we can talk like this! Usually I have to say everything in parable form or do a miracle or something. And even when I am straightforward, my closest disciples don’t even get it. Sigh.
Anyway, I’ve totally digressed. But you knew that I knew that you knew that! Where were we? Oh yeah, dude’s up in a tree and so I go “Zacchaeus get down here. Party at your place.” As they say, ‘there ain’t no party like Jesus of Nazareth party, because a Jesus of Nazareth party is mandatory.’”
He came down to me in a hot second. Why? Because I called him by his name, like he was a real human being. I know him–he’s my boy. I know who he is deep down and what he’s done. But he’s still mine. Even though the man that he was always supposed to be was lost among all his mistakes and attempts to prove himself.
And then once again, all the religious killjoys started talking smack about me: “Oh, here he goes again, hanging out with ‘sinners.’” Maybe that’s because when we hang out, you get all high and mighty about how pious and awesome you are. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
Still, to be fair, Zacchaeus had screwed them out of a lot of their money. On behalf of Rome and to line his own pockets.
But then Zacchaeus did something none of those haters expected. He offered to give half of everything he had to the poor and to pay back four times what he’d cheated and stolen from them. My lost boy was found again.
People here don’t like when I used the word “lost” to describe them. They think that I’m judging them. No, I call them that because they’re mine and I love them and I’m here in this screwed up world to carry them back home. I’m here to help them find the person that they were always meant to be. If only they knew how much it would rage for us to have them back.
I only have a few more days before my time comes. I still have a few more stories to tell before then.
Next episode: Hoes (Literally) Before Bros and a Bottle of Perfume