Posted by: Akash Vansal | April 29, 2011


The Gospel : The Lord teaches Zacchaues

We are learning what Lord Jesus taught individual people in His earthly ministry. We have already seen Jesus teach,
a) Nicodemus – to be born again
b) Samaritan woman – to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth
c) The Rich Young Ruler                                                                                                              d) Martha

Today we will be enriching ourselves with the lesson that Lord Jesus gave to Zacchaues.

Luke 19: 1- 10
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 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.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Explanation :

verse 1-4. Lord Jesus is passing through the city of Jericho. Jericho can be seen in the map of our age Israel. It lies just to the north of dead sea and NE of Jerusalem. Jesus has been ministering now for more than 3 years and naturally His Name and fame was reaching everywhere. More and more people were crowding just to have a glimpse of Jesus. Zacchaues also wanted to see who Jesus is. He was the chief tax collector, rich, Jew. Zacchaues was short in height. And due to the crowd, he could not see Jesus. But, it seems he had come with a committment to see Jesus.Realizing that he won’t be able to see Jesus from normal level, he comes up with a plan. HE takes stocks of the situation as to where Jesus is going and how he can see Him. He rans towards the place where Jesus will be appearing, finds a tree, climbs it and sits there, waiting for Jesus. He positioned himself for the clear view of Lord Jesus. He had made an effort to see Lord Jesus without any hindrance.Seeing a short man climbing a tree, people- old and young all alike must have laughed at him, ridiculed him. But he just ignored all the mockery, because he had resolved to see Lord Jesus. He was very desperate to se Lord Jesus.

Verse 5-7: Lord Jesus reaches where Zacchaues was. HE stops, looks up at Zacchaues and calls him by name. Lord Jesus expresses His willingness to be his guest!
Zacchaues never met Lord Jesus. His effort to see Lord Jesus proves this. Lord Jesus, God in human form knows each and everyone of us by name .You may not know Lord Jesus but He knows you.
Do you think Zacchaues would thought that Lord Jesus talk to him leave apart visiting his house and be his guest. No way. His reaction shows he was surprised by Lord Jesus’ wish. He was very much eager to have Lord Jesus into his house. He immediately climbs down and accepts Lord Jesus gladly.
So many people were there. Many succeeded to see Lord Jesus without taking any extra effort. There approach was casual. Even though Zacchaues was handicapped, he overcame it. If he had not made that extra effort, think what he may have let go! The blessing of having Lord Jesus in his home. Lord Jesus searches those who really long to have Him. If our desire to see Lord Jesus is genuine, if we take all the effort to see Him, He not only reveals Himself to us, but also blesses us with the desire of our heart which we may not be anticipating.

The reason why Zacchaues thought Lord Jesus might not come into his house is expressively stated in the grumbling of all the people. Zacchaues was a tax collector and he made money by cheating the people. He himself knew ‘he was’ what the people were murmuring he was- a sinner. But, Lord Jesus could see what others can’t. The willingness to change, to transform, to undergo new birth.
Even we think similarly. Ah, I am a big sinner, I am a cheater, lier, adulterer or alchoholic. The people may be making fun of you, talking all sorts of unpleasant truths. Relax. No matter what people say or you think, the truth is Lord Jesus loves you as you are and He is willing to come and dine with you. The reason Lord Jesus came is to save the sinners. So, if any sin, how big or serious it may be in your view, is keeping you from approaching Lord Jesus, be encouraged to come to Him. He is ever ready to accept you.

verse 8-10 : Total transformation.
As soon as Zacchaues accepted Lord Jesus’ invitation (yes Z’ played host, but it was Lord Jesus who invited Z first), we see a tremendous change in him. The man who was so much possessed with wealth, the man who valued wealth so dearly, the man who cheated others to get wealth was now freed from the love of money. He accepted his wrong doings. As per the law of Moses, he could have given four times the amount he cheated and that would have been enough. But, we see, he first of all willingly gives away to the poor half of his all possession! Now, that must have been a lot of money! And from the remaining he pays as per the laws requirement. This shows he broke away from the bond of legalism. The man who was cheating was distributing it freely. He had become, loving, joyful and generous. And did you notice, Lord Jesus did not tell him to do what he did, It came so naturally from the change of heart.

What did Zacchaues gain: He was a new born man, rich with the fellowship of The Lord Jesus. His heart over flowed with joy and happiness. His heart was bubbling with gladness like a new bride meeting her groom for the first trime. And he became a witness of Lord Jesus declaring His unique mission of coming into the world “To seek and to save”
Zacchaeus was saved by his faith in Jesus Christ, just as Abraham. (Romans 4:13, Romans 5:1)
Jesus proclaimed his mission on the earth, “To Seek and Save the lost.”

Bible Study :
1) Only here, the term ‘Chief tax collector’ occurs.
2) Zacchaeus is a Greek name from the Hebrew, pronounced zakkay, meaning pure.
3) Why people considered tax collectors as sinners?
The tax collectors were local jews, employed by the Roman government to collect taxes for them. As they worked for Rome and moreover demanded exorbitant payment, they were generally hated and considered as traitors. They were regarded as outcasts. They could not serve as witnesses, judges and were expelled from the synagogue (the place of religious teaching). They along with their families were considered as sinners. They were equated with adulterers, robbers, evil doers. (Luke 18:11).
4) The episode of Z is one of the most narrated and loved one. Much is told of of his short height and his climbing up the tree. But the central theme of over coming his weakness, his extra effort, his childish act ignoring the peoples mockery are often left out. He made every possible effort to enter the narrow gate. (Luke 13:24) and he succeeded.

Conclusion : Are you looking out for your saviour Jesus Christ? Are you wheighed down by yuour sins? Do people look down on you as sinner? Do people hate you? Don’t worry. Lord Jesus loves you. He is ever ready to accept you AS YOU ARE. Lord Jesus did not say to Z that he first atone for his wrong doings, then He will come into his house. No. He accepted him as he was. Some people are of this view that they will first do some work of righteousness, meaning make themselves pure and then they will approach Lord Jesus. IF one can purify oneself, then there was no need of a saviour. Today you can call unto Him, confess your sins to Him. He will bless you with His peace

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Lord Jesus in Revelation 3:19-20


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