point out the tree which Zaccheus used as an outlook. There is no doubt that it was a great sign of his determination to see Jesus.We also remember that Jericho was the work place for Matthew the tax collector who was called here to be the disciple of Jesus. When King Herod was made a king by Romans Jericho
belonged to Cleopatra. It was given to her by her lover Mark Aurelius. Of course Herod couldn’t bear the fact that this crucial place didn’t belong to him so he bought it from Cleopatra. After the purchase he thought: “I’ve done a fervor to the townsfolk. They should be grateful that now they are my subjects.” He was so sure of their gratitude that he thought that the people should pay off what he paid for Jericho and he put some extra taxes on them to get his money back. That’s where we meet Matthew. He was one of the clerks collecting the tax imposed by Herod. You can imagine how popular he was among the people of the city. However after meeting Jesus he immediately followed him. The big function he put on was an acknowledgment of this new life he got from Jesus. At the beginning I mentioned the man who was attached on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem and was helped by the Good Samaritan. To understand the challenge of the story to the contemporary listeners of Jesus we need to ask ourselves why he was travelling that way. The people from Galilee on their way to Jerusalem had two options to cross the region of Samaria (it was an easy way) or to go down to the Jordan Valley and to travel along the Dead sea until they got to Jericho where they would climb the hills to go the capital (it was a long and difficult way). They would choose the more difficult road to avoid going through Samaria. They had reason for that. They disliked Samaritans and it was a mutual feelings. They are records of Samaritans killing Jews from Galilee going to Jerusalem. Jesus travelled the Jericho road many times but he also would choose the way through Samaria like when he met the woman at the well where he asked her for water to drink. In the parable where he puts a Samaritan as an example of mercy he challenged the way of thinking of Jews who would hate Samaritans so much that they would chose a longer and more difficult road toJerusalem in order not to put their food on the Samaritan soil.