I like Zacchaeus. I picture someone who looks like Danny DeVito. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector, and this would have made him incredibly rich, and incredibly hated by other Jews. During that time, Rome ‘hired’ Jews as tax collectors to take from their countrymen. On top of working for the enemy, most tax collectors were also notoriously greedy. They would often levy additional charges against people to increase their own wealth. Zacchaeus, in this regard, has almost everything going against him. He would have been vilified by all Jews.
This makes me wonder, why did Zacchaeus try so hard to get a look at Jesus? What was he looking for? Certainly he had heard about the miracles that Jesus had performed, but he seemed to be in good health. My guess is, God stirred something deep in Zacchaeus’ heart. He was ready for a change, and Jesus became the instrument of that change. Jesus and the crowds start walking by, and to great displeasure and some incredulous stares, Jesus calls out Zacchaeus and asks to go to his home.
Interacting with Jesus Christ is life-changing. Jesus offered Zacchaeus and his entire home salvation. (v10) “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Zacchaeus teaches us a few important lessons. First, we need to take the initiative! Zacchaeus didn’t just sit and wait for Jesus to come find him. He took action and put himself in a position to encounter the Lord. We can all do the same. Prayer, fasting, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and Bible study are all ways that you can put yourself in a position to encounter Jesus Christ. Be an active participant in your relationship with Christ!
Next, Zacchaeus didn’t believe what everyone else thought of him. He didn’t retort back to Jesus that he wasn’t good enough to have him in his home. No! He (v6) “quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” Zacchaeus doesn’t mope about his failures, he rushes to bring Jesus to him. When Jesus offers his company, ACCEPT THE INVITATION.
Finally, Zacchaeus did the unthinkable, he repented. He did an about-face. Pride is a great enemy. Pride keeps us from asking for forgiveness and admitting our wrongs. Zacchaeus chucked his pride right out the window. He even took it further, he sought to right his wrongs, with interest.
We’ve all failed and caused damage at some point or another. How we react to those failures, though, is critical. We can wallow in our own self-pity and self-criticism, or we can be proactive, ask for mercy, and try to make things right. Zacchaeus had a choice, and so do we. Be like a renewed Zacchaeus.
Gospel Accounts found only in Luke
1:5-80 Special events leading up to the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus.
2:1-52 Events from Jesus’ childhood.
3:19-20 Herod puts John in prison.
4:16-30 Jesus is rejected at Nazareth.
5:1-11 Jesus provides a miraculous catch of fish.
7:11-17 Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead.
7:36-50 A sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet.
8:1-3 Women travel with Jesus.
10-1:18-14 Events, miracles, and teachings during the months prior to Christ’s death.
19:1-27 Jesus meets Zacchaeus and later tells the parable of king’s ten servants
23:6-12 Jesus’ trial before Herod
24:44-49 Some of Jesus’ last words before his ascension
*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke