7708 - Zachaeus
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Luke 19:1-10 :
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a `sinner.'"
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
Jesus said to him, "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 to save what was lost."
Friend, the focus in this incident is on a man who was successful in the eyes of the business world. He had become a rich man. He had also ruffled some feathers of some Jewish people, because he was a chief tax collector. That meant to them the he was working for the opposition, the Romans; and that wasn’t a popular thing among some Jewish people.
But Zacchaeus had a heart which was not satisfied or fulfilled.
He was even willing to face embarrassment in order to solve his problem.
The scene would indicate that Zacchaeus had heard of this man called Jesus. We see that he had a desire to see this man, but perhaps he did not dream that he could actually meet Jesus.
So being a man of short stature he climbed up a tree so he could see over the crowd. Most likely Zacchaeus did not desire to attract attention to himself. He just wanted to see Jesus.
Jesus was aware of these things so when he came to a position under Zacchaeus he looked up and called to him. Come down here Zacchaeus because I want to meet you. In fact, I’m going to your house with you.
No doubt Zacchaeus was excited as he came down out of the tree. He welcomed Jesus warmly. As this happened some of the people began to criticize.
Remember, the Jewish people did not associate with unclean people. They would have become unclean themselves. So they directed their criticism toward Jesus for going to the home of an unclean sinner.
Obviously the Holy Spirit had already been working in Zaccheaus. Notice, he opened up right away and made a sacrificial declaration. By calling Jesus Lord he is acknowledging his authority. Then he declares that he is pledging half of all of his possessions to the poor. That is a bold step for any man, but for this rich man it meant a sizable reduction of his assets.
Furthermore, he also said to Jesus that if he had defrauded anyone that he would pay them back four times the value. This addressed the very attitude that the people had toward Zacchaeus. After this, no one could accuse him of unjustly profiting at their expense.
The conviction and repentance was taking place deep within Zacchaeus, and Jesus says, “salvation is yours.” That unfulfilled yearning in Zacchaeus’ heart was filled. No longer would he hunger for righteousness. He had become righteous by faith in Jesus, even though the sacrifice was not yet made.
Jesus shares that this was his very purpose in coming to earth — to rescue lost, hurting people. He did not come to earth just to get the names of those people who were self-righteous down here. It wasn’t necessary for him to die for people who were not sinners. No! Jesus came to make a way for lost sinners to be able to be reconciled to Holy God.
I’m sure that each Christian would join me in thanking Jesus for making it possible to be reconciled to Sovereign God.