Jesus and Zacchaeus
1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Zacchaeus was a Jew and one of the descendents of Abraham. He was also a great sinner. Tax collectors were hated in those days very greatly because they misused their authority. These tax collectors worked not for the Jews but for the Romans who had conquered Israel. They cheated both the people and the government and kept huge sums of money for themselves. While the poor kept getting poor they kept getting rich.
Jesus the Son of God was aware that Zacchaeus was looking for a way out. Zacchaeus was fed up of sinning and needed salvation. He was aware that collecting so much money was not going to get him to a good place after he dies. Now Jesus preached the Gospel where ever he went. So somehow Jesus’ message must have reached Zacchaeus and he sought the way to meet the Lord Jesus.
Due to his short height Zacchaeus tried to see Jesus in Jericho on a tree. Yes, he needed a better vantage point. Sometimes to look at the Lord Jesus you need to stop letting others obstruct your view in their way of life. It was the nature of the people to be taller that Zacchaeus and it was his nature to not let that come in the way of seeing Jesus.
Jesus rewarded his faith by asking that he be a guest at Zacchaeus’ house. This didn’t go well with others who despised Zaccheaus and grumbled. They didn’t see the point of Jesus going to his house.
Now Jesus the Lord was not considered as the Lord by the scribes and the Pharisees of the Jewish faith. They didn’t acknowledge him as the Son of God who would come to save not just the Jews but also the Gentiles from their sins. Though it was mentioned in the prophecies about Jesus, they willfully chose to ignore it. However, when Jesus came to Jericho, that day there was one man who did call him Lord no matter what the religious elite felt.
Zacchaeus called Jesus as the Lord. He realized his need to repent of his sins and accept the Lord as his savior. He recognized that Jesus is the Lamb of God who comes to take the sins of the world and happy was he to receive him under his roof. Though all he had to do was to accept Jesus as the Son of God, he went to declare he will make good all the losses to those whom he had cheated.
Jesus went to say that salvation came to this man’s house and reminded people of his ministry which to seek and save the lost. Christ even today seeks and save the lost. He still through his disciples on earth tries to reach out to those who yearn for salvation. He accepts even the worst of sinners in to the Kingdom of God. Those who are ‘public’ sinners like drug sellers, racists and even terrorists too can receive salvation from Jesus if they turn away from their sinful ways and accept Jesus as the true Lord.