Zacchaeus was seeking to see who Jesus was but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.
Why would Zaccheus be so intent on catching a glimpse of Jesus? Perhaps because Jesus is all that he isn't! Jesus is admired and sought out (at least for a little while). Zaccheus is a tax collector - widely despised by the people.
If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that at some point in our own loneliness or alienation, we long to identify with someone else's seeming acceptance. It's easy to picture the lonely student wishing he could be at the lunch table with the "cool kids" but where in your own life might you be looking for validation or an invitation? And what are you using to satisfy that need? Zaccheus sensed deep down that Jesus was what he needed to feel accepted, not the riches he had come to acquire. And the bottom line is - we will spend our lives searching in the wrong places until we accept that we are worthwhile and valid because of who God is - our loving Father. So quit straining your neck. Try bowing your head instead!