The Story of Zacchaeus teaches us that no one is beyond saving, and when you do whatever it takes to reach Jesus you will experience love and peace in your life that passes all understanding.
In the city of Jericho, there lived a chief tax collector known as Zacchaeus. He climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus and gave half of all he possessed to the poor after his life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, whose earthly mission was to bring salvation to the lost. His story is found in the Gospel of Luke chapter 19. The meaning of Zacchaeus is “untainted, pure, clean”. Its origin is the Greek variant of the Hebrew name Zakkay.
The Story of Zacchaeus
Let us now delve into the story of the repentant tax collector.
3 Life Lessons from the Story
- Get to Jesus, No Matter What it Takes: Zacchaeus went out of his way to see Jesus and climbed a tree to have a closer look at the “celebrity.” He did not feel ashamed that he had to climb a tree as he was short. It would have been a humbling experience for a person of authority. He did what was necessary to catch a glimpse of Jesus, regardless of what others thought about him. Jesus witnessing Zacchaeus’ effort to see Him, was pleased by his actions and wanted him to experience His transformational love, and so He invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house despite His busy schedule. We have to get to Jesus first so that we can answer His call and accept His invitation. We should be excited about meeting Him as it will transform our lives for the better.
- No One is Beyond Saving, Jesus Came to Save the Lost: Jesus brought hope and salvation to Zacchaeus’ life, who was considered a “sinner” by the Pharisees as he was a tax collector ( a publican). The story is a great example of why Jesus came into the world (to seek and save the lost). Our Lord and Savior build a relationship with Zacchaeus, who was hated by his people, as he was a tax collecting agent of the Roman Empire, who levied heavy taxes to finance their vast realm. Zacchaeus prosecuted people who did not pay and increased his fee beyond what was required, accumulating illegitimate wealth. Jesus did not condemn Zacchaeus though he knew that he was a sinner who ripped people off. He spoke with kindness and frankness and made Zacchaeus glad by telling him that He wants to stay at his home. Maybe Zacchaeus was filled with remorse due to his ill-gotten wealth and found his life unfulfilling and unsatisfying. Jesus saw His heart and decided to deliver him from his sins and give him a new life. We should not make judgments based on people’s reputations. Usually, reputations are built on reports that have been spread based on the lives people have lived. We cannot see what is inside a person’s heart. We should not mistreat anyone based on who they are but treat them well as they also are a child of God.
- Jesus Overlooks Our Sins and Transforms Our Lives: Jesus did not look at the past sin of Zacchaeus, but He saw the future life of the man filled with good deeds and concern for others. God’s salvation is offered to all people, not just to those who are considered religious. We see here Christ’s compassion towards sinners and His power to change people’s lives. Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ heart in that he promised to take drastic measures to right the wrongs he has done and live a life that exalted Christ. Zacchaeus assured to give half of his wealth to the poor and repay four times what he took illegally from others. He set his priorities straight, and money was no longer the driving force of his life. Zacchaeus became a follower of Christ by repenting of his sins and making restitution of his wrongdoing. This story teaches us that where there is genuine faith and repentance, Jesus is more than willing to change people’s lives. Jesus does not care about what we have done in the past, but about what we can do in the future by obeying God’s commandments and living a life powered by the love of Christ. Remember, we cannot be saved by works but by faith alone in Christ. Though Zacchaeus took measures to give away his money, it was faith in the Lord’s words that led to the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
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