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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Zacchaeus and Jesus

Luke 19:1-10 ESV

Romans 3:23 ESV

A Story of Love

I love the story of Zacchaeus because of the children’s song ‘Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he’. I suppose that’s because I understand being small of stature.

Now, please understand most of the women in my family are not tall, but I’m the only one who didn’t even grow to be 5’ tall, I missed it by one inch.

I can’t say that really bothered me because I didn’t know I was seriously short until I was in my early 50’s. I discovered it because I took a standing picture with my four children and their spouses. In the photo there were four on the left and four on my right and I was in the middle. It seriously looked like I was standing in a hole. While I had loved the Zacchaeus song for years, that day I realized why I love it.

In Luke 19:1-10 we learn that Jesus, “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.”

First, I was impressed that a man who was rich and was short would climb a tree to see Jesus. In this day and age is a wealthy man wants something, he might send an assistant to summon the person. I would have expected that Zaccheaus would use his position to get closer to the famous Rabbi Jesus. But, Zacchaeus didn’t do that. He climbed a tree so he could see Jesus.

In the second place, I was impressed that Jesus not only noticed Zacchaeus but he called him by name. He KNEW who he was and Jesus sought Zacchaeus out.

However, in Luke 19:7 we learn that the people in the crowd grumbled.

They were angry (and judgmental) because Jesus was going to the house of a sinner.

I find that very interesting.

I mean, why wouldn’t Jesus go to a sinner’s house? Jesus came (comes) to my house. We know from the writings of the Apostle Paul (written after this meeting) that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, (Romans 3:23).

After all, Jesus loves everyone. Jesus loves those who have turned to Him and Jesus loves those who have not yet turned to Him.

I think of it this way, Jesus desperately loves those who have not turned to Him because He can see their heart. He can see their desperation. Jesus can see their longing for something more…something greater. Jesus can see their need.

I have eight grandchildren on earth and one in heaven. I love them all equally, but if one of them is hurting or struggling with something, I am on my knees praying for that one child. If one of them is facing a big decision, I think of them.

That’s what Jesus was doing that day. Jesus loves everyone, but that day was Zacchaeus’ day. Jesus knew even before he called Zacchaeus’ name that Zaccheaus was longing for Jesus. Jesus knew Zacchaeus was ready to change.

That’s exactly what happened. When Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house, he changed. He promised that he would give half of what he owned to the poor and he promised that if he had cheated anyone he would restore it to them with four times the amount.

Jesus was thrilled that Zacchaeus changed when he met Him. He changed so much that he promised he would change the way he did business!

We know that Jesus loved Zacchaeus even before the wee man climbed the tree. But that day Zacchaeus LOVED Jesus because Jesus was willing to be criticized and judged by going to his house.

Everything changed for Zacchaeus that day.

Because Jesus called His name and he responded, he would never be alone again. Jesus would always be there for him.

So, here’s the deal…I don’t remember a time when Jesus wasn’t there for me. For as long as I can remember, even when I was four years old, Jesus has been part of my life. My dad taught adult Sunday School and after church every Sunday we would go home and he would fix lunch. That was really the only time my dad cooked. While he fixed lunch on Sunday I would ask him questions about God and Jesus. Even when I was a teenager I would ask him questions about God on Sunday after church.

It breaks my heart that there are people in this world who don’t know about God. They don’t know what it feels like to know that no matter what Jesus will be with them. Jesus will never ever fail them. I can’t begin to imagine what life would be like without God.

I think living without Jesus’ love would be the most difficult thing anyone could ever do.

I don’t know what Zacchaeus’ life would have been like before he met Jesus that day.

I do know that when Zacchaeus turned and let Jesus IN, his life was never the same.

I know that because nothing on earth can compare to God’s love. Nothing is even close.

Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Turn to God

Take time to FEEL God’s love IN you. If you have not turned to God/Jesus, turn today. Invite God in. Your life will never be the same again. God’s love is the greatest story ever told!

In God, Deborah with God’s love


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