The Prayer Life of Jesus:
31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. Matthew 21:31 (NLT)
Thomas Cahill about the Roman curialis:
The divine emperor's power rested, above all, in his office of imperator, commander in chief, the office whose importance had been so greatly expanded during the political upheavals of Augustus's day. But almost as important as his military power was his power to tax. "And it came to pass in those days," wrote Luke in the most famous passage on Roman taxation in all of literature, "that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." Thus is Jesus's birth set in the reign of the first emperor— "toto orbe in pace composito" ("all the world being at peace"), as a chronicler of the fifth century would soon describe it. But the peace of all the world— all the world worth thinking about, that is— came at a stiff price: the constant, and increasingly unequal, exactions of the emperor's tax men.
We know, again from the Gospels, the hatred of the Jews of the first century for the Roman tax collectors. By the time of Ausonius that hatred was universal. But now I must ask a great concession of my readers: to pity the poor tax man, whose life was far more miserable than the lives of those who suffered his exactions. The tax man, or curialis, was born that way: Can you imagine the dawning horror on realizing that you were born into a class of worms who were expected to spend their entire adult life spans collecting taxes from their immediate neighbors — and that there was no way out?
But this was only the beginning of the horror. Whatever the curiales were unable to collect they had to make good out of their own resources! Who were these wretches, and how were they assigned their doom?
… the imperial approach to taxation had produced a caste as hopeless as any in history. Their rapacious exactions, taken wherever and whenever they could, were the direct result of their desperation about their own increasingly unpayable tax bills. As these nerved-up outcasts commenced to prey on whoever was weaker than they, the rich became even richer.
How did Jesus know his name?
As Jesus goes toward Zacchaeus, He’s praying:
1. Father draw him (John 6:44)
2. Let him know how much You love him. (Is. 43:4)
3. Show him Your plan for his life. (Eph.1:17)