I'm invited to a dinner, OK? Weird thing is, it's at my place. Get this: I'm invited to be the host... invited to invite... Yeah, weird. What's even weirder: it's a costume party—you know, Halloween— and I'm coming disguised as myself. It's a crazy disguise, actually. Starts in a tree. Well, that's me disguised as a tall person. And disguised as somebody who doesn't really care. You know, at a bit of a distance, above it all, just curious, but not serious? Yeah, right. I would have died to be close to that guy, but I'm not about to let anybody see. So.... so the disguise.
But—the disguise doesn't fool him for a minute. He sees right thought it. “Hey, Zacchaeus!” (How the heck did he know it was me?) “I'm coming to your place. Lunch.” Whoa. Me? Who does he think I am? So we go. Now I've still got on a great disguise, a disguise that's fooled everybody forever: I go as a monster. An ogre. You know, like a tax collector, a greedy, slimy guy wallowing in stolen riches, living off other people's suffering. A scary dude. And again— it doesn't work! Dang if he doesn't see right through it. He knows it's a disguise, knows that it's really me under there. Only, OK, here's the really weird part: I don't know it. I don't realize that this is not the real me.
Until we sit down to eat. What is it about eating with thus guy? And he looks right through me, right through this thing that everybody else sees but isn't true, and he sees the real me beneath the costume, the me I've never even seen. And he respects that Zacchaeus that he sees, loves me, even. And, you know what? I love that Zacchaeus, too. And I think I'd love being that Zacchaeus. I think I will! I don't need to wear that costume, don't need to carry around this image of someone I'm not, somebody other than my real self, my real soul. No disguise.
So I take it off. I get rid of the whole thing. All the trappings. The greed, the money, the callousness. I give it away until there's nothing left but the person Jesus sees, this grateful, generous guy. I give it all away like party favors. And it is a party. It's like my birth day party! I'm a new person. I'm free! I feel like I've died and gone to heaven.
Which, I guess, I have. Maybe that's what he means when he says, “Salvation has come to this house. I came to seek and to save the lost.” Well, I don't know exactly what he was seeking, but I know what I've found. No fooling.
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