If there’s one thing that’s true of every great villain (at least in fantasy fiction), it’s that they’re never as easy to get rid of you as you think they’ll be. You might assume that you’ve seen the last of them, but when you least expect it… they’re back! The inability to get away from them is especially powerful when you consider the fact that Fetus Christ’s arch nemesis is more than just the person who once killed Him, she’s His mother! So of course Mary’s back.
If you went to Sunday School as a kid, and paid attention at all, you should recognize the lad in the tree: that’s Zacchaeus. He’s every li’l Christian’s favorite tax collector, on account of 1) being short, and 2) climbing trees. Getting to shout “YOU COME DOWN” as part of the “wee little man” song is icing on the cake. Of course in our story, Zach is far too young to have gone to work yet for the Imperial Revenue Service yet, but he’s not too young to have taken up the sport of tree-climbing.
Zach’s “I can see my house from here” line is a reference to an old joke. In it, Jesus is hanging from the cross, faintly calling to one of His disciples to come closer. The loyal disciple strives valiantly to do so, suffering abuse and injuries from the executioners and guards, but he perseveres and finally reaches his Lord’s side. Jesus faintly croaks, “Look, I can see your house from here.” The same joke was riffed on for the cover art of an old LP by the prog-rock band Camel, called… “I Can See Your House From Here”.
Understanding where this scene is about to take us requires a little more familiarity with Who’s Who in the Bible. The text doesn’t say for sure about the family relationship, but Jesus evidently knew these people who lived in Bethany….