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Luke 18:31-19:10

Here's one terribly familiar story of a bad guy turned good: old Zacchaeus the dastardly tax collector sees the light after tea with Jesus and we notch up another convert for the good guys.

Or is it?

We really sell the story short if that's all we get from the story. Think about the implications here: the tax collector redefines a balanced budget, he gives a new take on a progressive public accounting system. Here's one of God's own revolutionising how we do the economy by giving away four times what he had taken.

Now how might that work in our own economy? Okay, that's not quite possible perhaps though probably not as impossible as we imagine. But it is an insight into a budget that is bias towards compassion and change. That's what's missing now-a-days. We like the Zacchaeus story but for the wrong reasons.

There is an ambiguity in the text because it can be easily read as Jesus holding up Zacchaeus as an example of someone who already gives away four times what he brings in. The verb used is continuous: Jesus using the 'sinner' tax collector as an example to those pious pharisees who look down their noses at him and not only because he is small.

Either way I don't think many politicians are willing to do what Zacchaeus does.

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