Open your bibles with me to Luke Chapter 19 vs 1-10 or read below:
Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So, he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for he was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” The Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”
Background to the context and lessons learned from today’s scripture:
The Romans would levy heavy taxes on all nations under their control to finance their great world empire. The Jews opposed these taxes because of what the money supported (a secular government and pagan gods) but they were still forced to pay. So you can imagine that tax collectors were among the most unpopular people in Israel. They were Jews by birth and chose to work for Rome so many considered them traitors. Everyone also knew that tax collectors were crooked and became rich by gouging their fellow Jews. So can you imagine the crowd when they saw Jesus go home with one of these men! The scripture says he was a CHIEF tax collector. But Jesus loved Zaccheaus despite what he had become, and that love converted Zaccheaus. BUT NOTICE THIS: That love compelled him to REPENT – in other words “Turn from sin and toward Jesus.” He gave half of what he had to the poor, and he returned anything he took, and gave even more, to those who he took from unjustly. Yes, Jesus loves us in our sin – but he loves us too much to leave us there in it. His Love for us should compel us to want to change. The bible says “Be ye holy as I am holy says the Lord.” We should constantly be changing and growing to be more like Jesus.
In every society there are certain groups of people who are considered “Untouchable” because of their political views, their immoral behavior, or their lifestyle. We should not be afraid to share the gospel with them, they need to hear it too! I find it most often we automatically turn to the poor, the broken, the victims of trauma and reach out to them with the gospel because it just seems “obvious”. But what about the CEO in the suit and tie? We often think they’re “good” because they have all this money, a nice home, nice car … but the truth is, they can sometimes be THE MOST BROKEN. Why? They’ve never learned they need God. They have everything money can buy – but I guarantee if they don’t know Jesus, there is still a longing – a hole in their heart that money can’t fill.
From my Life Application Study Bible: When Jesus said Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham and yet was lost, he must have shocked his hearers in at least two ways: (1) They would not have liked to acknowledge this unpopular tax collector was a fellow son of Abraham, and (2) they would not have wished to admit that sons of Abraham could be lost. But a person is not saved because of a good heritage or condemned because of a bad one; faith is more important than genealogy. Jesus came to save the lost, regardless of their back-ground or previous way of life. Through faith, the lost can be forgiven and made new!
Happy Wednesday Friends! May you seek to see Jesus today with as much effort as Zaccheaus did when he climbed that sycamore tree!