When Zacchaeus Met Jesus

Zacchaeus and Jesus

We are small, God is bigger

Jesus, the Word made Flesh, encounters all types of people and only a few ended up in the New Testament. The Twelve Disciples saw all the encounters and were party to most of them and there always seemed to be questions, at least to the ones recorded in the Gospels. The story of the wee little man, Zacchaeus, was no different but it was made into a children’s song. All we know about this person was that he was short, a dishonest chief tax collector with some others under him. Let’s look at Luke’s account of the meeting between Jesus and Zacchaeus:
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10 (ESV)
Scripture tells us that Jericho was destroyed when God had the Israelites march around the city yelling, screaming, singing and blowing their shofars. The walls came a tumbling down then the Israelites rebuild and took over the city. Many years later the Romans occupied the area and they chose locals to collect the taxes so that others would trust them. Most of these tax collectors were dishonest men with few morals because they were corrupted by the false idol of money.

Now Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming into town and wanted to hear Him and see Him but couldn’t see because of being short. Jesus sees hearts and could see Zacchaeus even before he got up in the tree. Jesus knew that people would be aggravated that He chose to share a meal and stay with Zacchaeus and his family but He did it.
What did Jesus show others and how did hearts change?
First let’s review what was said of Jesus by the onlookers in the crowd, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Jesus had mentioned numerous times that He is here to save the sinner. By that, He meant, those who are willing to accept the fact that they are sinners. The more you willing accept the fact that you cannot save yourself on your own, the easier it is for you and Jesus to come together. He does enter houses of other Rabbis but only after He sees their hearts and if they could be turned. He also knew what had to happen for those hearts to be returned to God.

God welcomes home the truly repentant because they fully understand that they are not in control of their lives. Those who believe they are good to go just because they believe, have done all the sacrifices, but go right back to their lives, are not truly turned back to God in their hearts. Also, you have those who worshipped the man and not what/who He is. He is the Incarnate Word of God, to worship the man you worship flesh. He worshipped God so we should do the same.

Zacchaeus somehow was immediately changed as he saw not the man, but the Word. He knew his wrongs and repented both physically and spiritually. He gave up his job, his livelihood, his life, so that he would be saved. He received forgiveness for his sins against God first by his repentance, then forgiving others, asking for forgiveness, and receiving forgiveness from man. This is an example of what man needs to do to receive have a heart filled with God.

Have you repented, forgiven, asked for forgiveness, and received forgiveness? When your heart isn’t right with people here on earth, what makes you believe your heart is right with God, it isn’t. Remember that Jesus said that those who cannot forgive (make things right) with their family, their neighbors, should not enter the temple because their heart isn’t right. Do you want your heart to be clean? It is all up to you to make things right, then your temple cleaning will be god for God to come in and finish the cleansing.
Be Blessed today and every day. Spread God’s Word without fear. Jesus gave us simple stories with Eternity in mind. Have a Great one.
Pastor Rob




Do you remember this song from your youth? I want to thank members of the NPWI Choir at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN: Noah Starr, Collin Montgomery, Zoe Pearce, Kyle Laird, and Kavanah Manswell for performing and my daughter Katie for arranging and directing it. Brought back memories of singing it during Vacation Bible School.