If you had taken a poll and asked, “Name the most hated man in Jericho,” Zacchaeus would have been named on 99% of the ballots. And then you’d ask the second question, “Who is the least likely person to want to see Jesus?” Zacchaeus would once again have been at the top of the list. People had written off this crooked tax collector long ago.
Sometimes in our effort to share the gospel we get so discouraged. We try to share Christ at work. We try to share Christ with our family and friends and neighbors. We try to build bridges with people who don’t know the Lord. We get discouraged when they don’t respond quickly. Sometimes they go months and years without responding at all. We conclude that they are hardened to God.
Zacchaeus reminds us not to jump to hasty conclusions. If you had looked on the outside you would have written him off because his society had written him off. But in his heart, the Holy Spirit was working, waiting for the day when Jesus would arrive.