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Short Man But Tall Tree: What can you learn from Zacchaeus

Q. What can you learn about Zacchaeus?

  • Chief Tax Collector, Rich!
  • Jew, Short, Corrupt
  • Sinful (Luke 19:7), Not a reputed man, often ridiculed or hated among the Jews

Q. Meaning of ‘Zacchaeus’?

  • Clean, pure (CCEL)
  • What an irony, his name meant clean and pure, but he was one of the chief corrupted man in Jericho!

Q. Why did Zacchaeus come to see Jesus?

  • Must have heard about this Rabbi.
  • Must be desperate to see Jesus (Not every one climbs a tree to see Jesus!)
  • He would have just wanted to have a glance at this Jesus.
  • He did not expect Jesus to be his guest!

Q. What did his actions tell about his need/desire to see Jesus?

  • We all know about his desperation in climbing a tree. But we often miss a rather insignificant act just before that.
  • Luke 19:4 – “So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.”
  • He RAN ahead and climbed the tree. He made an effort to run ahead and climb the tree!
  • He prepared himself for the most clear view of Jesus. He made an initial effort to see Jesus without any hindrance or obstacle. He set aside all the ridicule or mockery he might receive from people.
  • I strongly believe that this simple and insignificant act tells a lot about his heart. He was ready to receive Jesus, into his home and his heart!
  • Many people were in that crowd. They would also have heard about Jesus, they also came to see him. They might have a glimpse at this famous miracle-worker. Many would have gone home, missing the view, thinking, “may be next time, I would see him.”
  • But Zacchaeus prepared himself to see Jesus. He made an effort. He did not give up.
  • If you long to see Jesus, if you are ready for Jesus, Jesus will definitely notice you!

Q. What is very striking observation in V. 5?

  • Jesus called him by his name ‘Zacchaeus’, Jesus knew him by his name even though he never met him before. Zacchaeus and Jesus The Guest of Sinner
  • It was not Zacchaeus, who invited Jesus. It was Jesus, who invited Zacchaeus!
  • All he needed to do was to receive it.
  • And he did so with grateful, joyful heart.

Q. What was people’s response?

  • Grumbling, complaining
  • Guest of a ‘Sinner’!
  • They did not see, what Jesus could see.

Q. Where prompted Zacchaeus’ generosity?

  • Change of Heart also reflects change of attitude and actions.
  • He accepted the fact that He had cheated others. He confessed his wrong doings. But he paid them back what was required by the law. (Exodus 22:1, 2 Sam 12:6)
  • He could have given four times, he had taken according to the law and that should be enough.
  • But He first gave half of all his possessions to the poor! (That is a lot of money.) And from the remaining, he paid for his wrongdoings. It shows the overflowing joy, love and generosity.
  • Jesus did not even tell him to do so. It came so naturally from the change of heart.
  • In previous chapter, Luke 18:18-30, we see another rich ruler, a man of high regard, respect in the society, a religious person. But he failed to know who Jesus really is! What a pity that he could not leave his riches, when Jesus told him to do so. (Luke 18:23)

Q. What was Jesus’ proclamation?

  • “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
  • 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.”

The Story of Zacchaeus and Jesus is one of the most fascinating and dramatic stories in the gospels. It is a story of Jesus reaching out to neglected and despised of the world.

Jesus is ready to be your guest in your home and heart, are you ready to accept his invitation?

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