The Tax Collector –
[Most of the time when the Bible mentions a publican, or a tax collector it is referring to a regular tax collector (publicanus) rather than a chief tax collector. The tax collectors were usually Jewish and therefore they were hated by their own people. When they collected their taxes for Rome they would turn over the required amount of money, and whatever they could add on for themselves is what they kept. They were known to be extortioners of large sums of money. Because tax collectors were in relationship with Rome, who were Gentiles in the eyes of the Jews, and hated for their domination, they were treated similar to the worst kinds of sinners and prostitutes.
Does he go about his business with a demonic scowl upon his face? Does he spew forth obscenities and stench with every breath? No. He probably appears just like you and me. He works hard. He has a family. He loves his children. He has pets. He laughs and is fun at parties. He might be a great neighbor, generous at times, and helpful to senior citizens. Does he think himself quite evil? Perhaps not. Perhaps he sees Rome as a force of great civilization upon a nasty unruly realm.] 
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today .” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10
The Pharisee –
[“Pharisee” is from a Greek word (pharisaios) taken from the Heb/Aramaic “Perisha” meaning “Separated one.” In the time of Jesus the Pharisees were one of the three chief Jewish sects, the others were the Sadducees and the Essenes. Of the three, the Pharisees were the most separated from the ways of the foreign influences that were invading Judaism, and from the ways of the common Jewish people in the land. Unlike the Sadducees who were chosen almost exclusively from among the aristocracy, the Pharisees were mainly members of the middle class. They were like the businessmen merchants and the tradesmen of their day. This might account for the large number of Talmudic references dealing with the intricacies of commercialism.
The Pharisees were deeply concerned with following after the law and had thus separated themselves from the great mass of the populace (the so called “people of the land” Heb. “am ha-aretz”) by their strict adherence to the minutia of their legal tradition. The average Pharisee had no formal education in the interpretation of the law and accordingly had resorted to the professional scholar, the scribe (of which class the majority were Pharisees), in legal matters. The vast majority of the Pharisees were laymen, yet a small number of the Pharisees were also Priests and Levites, who had committed to the Pharisaic ideals in order to help make pure more of the common people.] 
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
Goooooooood morninggggggggggg bright new world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you ever have a facetime with the Lord in which you feel really special? When He points you to some rabbit holes and leaves you to wriggle about in the burrows? That’s how today feels.
Because today He trusted me to see the similarities rather than the differences. Both “categories” saw themselves as a force for good. Both were “separated” by choice. Both served “the good of the people”. Both were successful by “being amongst but not of” the people (now why does that sound familiar).
Jesus mixed with both. He sat with both. He ate with both. He included both if they allowed.
And I wonder … how often do we? Or how often do we stigmatise and label in order to preserve our faith – to make “more of the common people” like us?