I very much enjoyed your “poor man” and his attendance at the Synagogue Rich! How often have we all felt like this, or heard it from others in our circle. I think that Jesus is again interpreting the Scriptures for us and again becomes the host rather than the guest at the home of Zacchaeus. He is, again, the living interpretation of the text. He gives us four absolutely essential ways in which we may achieve self healing by choosing mercy over sacrifice. These are:
a) Whenever you interpret anything, you can read it two ways: in such a way that your interpretation creates mercy, and in such a way that it creates sacrifice.
b) When Jesus tells the Pharisees “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’”, he is giving a reading lesson: “Go and sit under this word, and allow it to become the interpretative key to your approach to your fellow human beings.”
c) Sacrifice is not only what goes on in the Temple, but the act of creating goodness over against others who are then judged, condemned as guilty and treated as sinners.
d) “Learning what this means” is not about getting the rules right, but about taking responsibility for your interpretation.