Zacchaeus The Tax Collector

by Aspiring Rev. Isaiah Thomas
(Virginia)

(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.”

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus (we’ll call him Zach for short); he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here 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.” Jesus said to him, “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.”

Now let's thoroughly examine this passage of scripture:

I. ZACH: BEFORE HE WAS CHANGED

Now Zach is the kind of man who represents and stands for every person who does not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, and so therefore, their heart isn't pure. Zach was a rich man, a tax collector, who cheated people out of their money. All he cared about was his money and himself. IN fact, a "Zach" is a person who is primarily concerned about one person: Zach. Zach was a crooked and conniving little cheat (special emphasis on the "little" part).

But at the same time, Zach also represents every single person on this Earth who as Paul says in Romans 3:23, "...that has fallen short of the glory of God." Everybody in here in this church and everybody who will view this sermon via the internet knows that before they accepted Jesus into their heart, they were crooked and sinful. But that is why Jesus the Son of God came to make "the crooked straight."(Luke 3:5b, KJV)

II. THE DAY ZACH WAS CHANGED

Now in that fourth verse, it says, "4) So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way." Now, because he was so short, he was most likely embarrassed to have to climb up on that tree to see Jesus. But at the same time, the stories he heard about Jesus stirred up his spirit so much, that he had to try his hardest to get to see Jesus for himself.

I'm sure people looked at him and said among themselves, "Wow, because Zach is so short, he had to choose this time to try and make himself be better than everyone else and climb up to the top of that tree, as if to say, "Now I'm taller than everyone else."" I'm sure his reputation was ruined. But he had to take "drastic measures," just so he could see and look upon Jesus' face.

And so, by doing this, he was able to catch Jesus' attention. And Jesus looked up at that tree and said, "Zach, come down here. I want to eat at your house tonight." And from this moment on, Zach not only opened up the door of his house to Jesus, but he opened up the door of his heart, and allowed Jesus to come in.

III. AFTER ZACH'S HEART WAS CHANGED

Now, that night, Jesus came to his house and ate and talked with Zacchaeus for a long time. Jesus coming over to his house and eating with him and talking with him, and he (Zach) accepting Jesus into his heart meant so much to him, that he made an announcement. He said, "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."

By allowing Jesus to come into his unclean and unholy heart and purify it and make it holy, Jesus had changed him in such a way that he decided that everyone who he had cheated out of their money in the past, he would pay them back and ask of their forgiveness. Jesus changed his whole entire life in just that one night, and turned his whole life around.

Just as Jesus did it for him, He can also do it for you, if you only repent, believe, and give your life to Him. Jesus Christ changed his life and turned it around for the better. He can also turn your life around and allow the Holy Spirit to teach YOU how to live holy. All you have to do is "confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Romans 10:9) and he will save you from your sins.

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