Source: (2007) In Justice Reflections: Worldwide Papers Linking Christian Ideas with Matters of Justice. Lincoln UK: Diocese of Lincoln, Issue 16 JR 118.

He may be a Sunday school favourite, but Zacchaeus was also a master in white collar theft. Tax collectors were outcasts in society - not just because they were collecting money for the Roman Empire, but because they appear to have been lining their own pockets at the same time. And as a chief tax collector we can assume that Zacchaeus was masterminding the whole racket. In calling him down from the tree, Jesus is engineering a meeting between Zacchaeus and the people he has wronged. Initially, the crowd is outraged with Jesus for befriending a man whose behaviour has spread fear and mistrust even amongst those he hasn't stolen from directly. And who can blame them? (abstract)