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Does Zacchaeus’ height make a difference in his story?

A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. Luke 19:2-4

            Zacchaeus’ height plays well in the children’s song as that “wee little man.”  Kids identify with being short and unable to see over people, so it reaches that audience.  However, is his height really that important to understand the story.

            Some short people make up for lack of height by acting meaner and tougher.  It’s the short man’s syndrome or Napoleon complex.  His shortness may have fueled his desire to show these others who was the boss.

            Zacchaeus’ effort to see the Messiah as crowds gathered reveal his heart.  He was willing to climb a sycamore tree to see over people.  While he lacked in height, he made up for it in effort. 

            It’s actually Zacchaeus’ repentance that’s more important.  He cheated and stole from people as a tax collector.  The town hated him.  Jesus, though, ate at his house and gave Zacchaeus the chance to repent and pay back.  Jesus went to a sinner’s home showing his compassion for all who “fall short.”

            Zacchaeus’ height may have played into his sinfulness, leading to his overcompensation as a tax collector.  But his willingness to repent and give back is what’s more important.