When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
I also love how offensive the grace of Jesus is. Those in the crowd were upset because Jesus wanted to have a meal with the most despised man in the city. His grace will always offend my self-righteousness.
Before Zach ever believed or behaved correctly He already belonged with Jesus. “I must be a guest in your home today.” It’s when we know that despite our sin, failure, mistakes that we are completely accepted that we begin to change. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.
Jesus isn't concerned about the crowd's opinion because He's focused on the one. Jesus is not trying to fit in. He's bold enough to stand out and call the forgotten or despised to Himself. As Christians, I feel we can easily forget that, but our purpose is to be like Jesus — to call the one to Him, so they leave the crowds and follow Jesus. Like Jesus, we need to have eyes for the one.