ZACCHAEUS THE TAX COLLECTOR
Luke 19: 1-9
This is a story of a tax collector, a chief tax collector, wealthy, but greedy. Known to be a cheater..
One day, Jesus passed through the town of Jericho. Because people have heard that Jesus had performed many miracles and was able to cast out demons, may were following him.
Zacchaeus was also one of the people who have heard about Jesus. Because of the large crowd, and he was a short man, it was impossible for him to see Jesus. So what he did was, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him. He did not fail, he saw Jesus, and surprisingly, Jesus stopped in front of the tree, looked up to him and called him by name. And even more, Jesus asked Zacchaeus to come down immediately for He will stay at his home.
The people reacted badly, and couldn’t believe that Jesus will be staying with a sinner. Zacchaeus, because he was very glad to be with Jesus, he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor, and payback 4 x the amount if he had cheated anybody.
What did Jesus say? “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”
What made Zacchaeus different from the rest of the people following Jesus? Zacchaeus was a healthy rich man. He really has no need for Jesus. All the others, or probably most of them, wanted Jesus’ miracles. Not Jesus himself. But Zacchaeus, he was curious of Jesus. He knew that something new will happen if he would just take a glimpse of Jesus. He have heard that this Jesus was also claiming that He and God the Father are one. He felt an urge that he need to meet this person.
What did he do? He got all excited, even ran ahead, climbed a sycamore tree (which I believe has large thorns). Despite of his weakness, physical and spiritual, he pursued what he wanted during that time..to take a glimpse of Jesus.
What is his reward? Jesus stopped right in front of him, and called him by his name, Zacchaeus.
How come? Jesus was new to the place of Jericho, and how did he knew that there was a man waiting for him on top of a sycamore tree. Because Jesus is God. God formed us, God knows our hearts, God knows us personally, that is why He is able to call us by name. And He knows who are is. And He can see our hearts. Hearts that desire of Him, like Zacchaeus. He read the heart of Zacchaeus.
Why did Jesus stay with Zacchaeus? People reacted when Jesus stayed with Zacchaeus ( a sinner). It just proves that Jesus is ready to forgive those who are ready to accept Jesus. No matter how big or small sinners we are, as long as we are ready to accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, he will do so, no ifs and buts. Jesus judges us fairly unlike people, when we sometime treat sinners, as “sinners forever”, “hopeless”.
After accepting Jesus what happened? There was a change of heart. Because the righteousness of God has been poured out on Zacchaeus through Jesus. The heart of Zacchaeus can no longer stand unrighteousness, that he started to correct the wrongs that he had done before.
Change comes after acceptance. Because it is Jesus who changes us. We can do nothing, we may never be successful, especially in changing ourselves, because we are by nature sinners. Only a non-sinner like Jesus can do it. But of course, the willingness of the person should always be there. If Zacchaeus did not allow Jesus to stay in his house, he may have never experienced the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Seek and save the lost Yes, Jesus seeks those who are his, to save them from the fires of hell. When someone asks you, sharing the gospel of Jesus, do not resist, for you might be one of the lost sheep, being sought by Jesus in order to be saved.
God bless everyone.