Luke 19:10 "For Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."Funny how only those who know they are lost get found and get saved. Those who have no idea as the reality of their lostness have no time for Jesus on their schedules. (Though God is merciful to us all and at least tells us, if we have ears to hear.) Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, enough to climb a tree and look silly doing so. He knew something about himself, enough to know that he needed to see Jesus. Maybe he knew he was lost. Maybe he knew he needed saving. Maybe he just wanted to see Jesus. Really, really, wanted to see Jesus. Enough not to care how stupid he looked climbing a tree.
Luke 18:25 says that it is easier for a camel to go through eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. And this surprises the disciples no end. So here then we have Zacchaeus. A rich man. (Luke says he's rich.) From the Jews point of view he is blessed of God to be rich and well on his way to the kingdom of God and yet he is not. Rather, he needs Jesus and seems to know this. Note too that he brings forth the fruit of repentance -- that is, his conversion results in real changes in behaviour. Not so many public conversions in this and the last century where a lot of noise and media hype is made of conversion but no fruit comes.