In the Rich Man's Home at Jerricho
( Originally Published 1915 )
BUT BLIND Bartimeus was not the only man in Jericho who was eager to meet Jesus. In that city was living a very rich man named Zacceus, who was the head of all the tax collectors in that part of the country. He had heard that Jesus was unlike other Jews, in being friendly toward the tax gatherers, and he greatly desired to see him. But Zaccheus was a small man, and in the crowd he could have no chance to look at Jesus, so he ran on ahead and climbed up into a mulberry tree that stood beside the road, and from a place among its branches he could look down upon the passing multitude.
When Jesus came opposite to the tree, he stopped, looked up and saw Zaccheus, and said to him:
"Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for I must stop at your house today!"
He was surprised and glad that° the great Teacher should choose his house, out of all the homes in Jericho, to stay in. He came down and walked with Jesus to his house. But all the people began to find fault, saying :
"He has gone to visit at the house of a man who is a sinner !! "
For they took for granted because many of the tax gatherers were wicked men and robbed the people, that all of them were bad.
Zaccheus knew how they were feeling and what they were saying; so he came forward, and stood before Jesus and said :
"Hear me, Master! I will give half of all that I own to help the poor; and if I have robbed or cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much as he has lost!"
"Today," said Jesus, "in this house a man has been saved from his sins; since even Zaccheus here is a true son of Abraham our father. For the Son of Man has come to look after the lost ones and to save them."
As the people were listening, he went on and' spoke a parable to them; for he knew that as he was going up to Jerusalem, they were looking for the kingdom of God to be set up at once. This was "The Parable of the Pounds."
"A certain prince," said Jesus, "was going to a city far away, to be made a king, and then to come back and rule over his own land. Before leaving, he called ten of his servants, and gave to each one five hundred dollars, and said to him, `Trade with this until I come back.' Then he went away.
"But the people of his land hated him, and sent messengers to follow him to the distant city and to say, 'We will not have this man as our king.'
"However, the prince was made king and came home to reign over his land. Then he sent for his servants to whom he had given the money, so that he might learn how much each one had made by buying and selling. The first servant came and said:
" `My lord, the five hundred dollars which you gave me has gained five thousand. dollars.'
" `Well done, you good servant,' said the king, `because you have been so wise and faithful with a small amount, I will make you the governor over ten cities in my kingdom.'
"Then came another servant, who said, `My lord, your five hundred dollars has made five times as much as you gave me. Here are twenty-five hundred dollars.'
" `Very well,' answered the king, `you may be the ruler over five cities.'
"Soon one of the servants came, saying, `My lord, here is your five hundred dollars, just as you gave it to me. I have kept it safe for you, wrapped up in a napkin. For I was afraid of you; you are such a hard, selfish man. You pick up what you never put down; and you reap what you do not sow.'
" `You worthless servant!' answered the king, `out of your own words will I pass judgment upon you. You knew, did you, that I was a hard man, picking up what I never put down, and reaping what I did not sow! If you knew this, why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I came home I could have gotten interest upon it, the money gained by lending it.'
"Then he said to those standing by, `Take away from him the five hundred dollars, and give it to the one who has five thousand dollars!'
`My lord,' they said, `why, he has five thousand dollars already ! Why give it to him?'
" `That is the very reason why he should have it,' said the king. `I tell you, that to him who has, more shall be given; and as for him who has not, even the little that he has shall be taken away from him.' "
" `And now, for these enemies of mine,' the king went on, `those men who sent word that they would not have me for their king, seize them, and bind them in chains and bring them here. Let them be slain in my sight!' "
With these words Jesus went onward up the mountain road leading to Jerusalem.