He was the chief tax collector of Jericho who would often cheat people out of their money by overtaxing them. He was hated by his fellow Jews because they found people like him as corrupt and he was also seen as a traitor because he supported the Roman Empire.
When he heard that Jesus was coming by heading for his destiny in Jerusaleml, Zacchaeus desired to see him. However, the only downside to his desire to meet Jesus was that he was a rather short man.
When he went to the crowd waiting to see Jesus, the crowd wouldn't let him come through because of his status as a tax collector. Zacchaeus's desire to see Jesus led him to climb up a sycamore fig tree and once he was up there, he sat on a branch.
When Jesus passed by the crowd, he spotted Zacchaeus in the tree. He told him to come down and publically announced that he would be going to his house today. The crowd were shocked and asked themselves why Jesus would be involved with what they referred to as a sinner.
When they finally went to Zacchaeus's house, Zacchaeus announced to Jesus that he would be paying back four times as much to anyone that he cheated. Jesus then told him that salvation would come to his house because of his repentance.
- Zacchaeus's name is Greek for "pure and righteous man."