Reading: Luke 19:1-10
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [NASB1995®]
You have surely read or heard the story of Zaccheus’ encounter with Jesus many times. It is, without doubt, a precious and impactful testimony of Jesus’ love and His power to transform lives. Let’s look at some interesting aspects of this event.
Zaccheus’ search: Luke tells us that Zacchaeus was one of the richest men in Jericho. He was the chief of tax collectors, an influential character, with many riches, but even so, he was dissatisfied. Because of his dissatisfaction he wants to see Jesus, of whom he has heard so much. For the same reason, he enters the crowd, even exposing himself to violence (tax collectors were despised by the people, and Zacchaeus was the main one among them). It is probably curiosity that moved him, but calling him was part of God’s plans. Zaccheus’ decision is such that he advances and climbs to a tree so that he can see Jesus.
The call of the Teacher: When Jesus passes by Zacchaeus’ tree, he raises his eyes and says the unthinkable: “Today I must stay in your home.” The crowd is not very happy with this choice, but the Lord’s call transforms Zacchaeus. He, the unworthy, the despised, the hated by all, has been called by Jesus. What joy he experiences! Jesus wants to be with Him. He “has” to stay in “his” house!
Zacchaeus descends and proclaims that what was the center of his life until today, money, is no longer important, because he has been called to be a child of God… And there is nothing more valuable than that!
The wonder of the Gospel: We should never stop being surprised by the way a simple look, a simple word of Jesus has the power to transform our lives. He looks, calls, and touches those whom no one looks, hears, or touches: the poor in spirit, the humble. He came to seek and save what had been lost: Zacchaeus, you and me. How could we not praise him?
MEDITATE: Let us rejoice and marvel every day at the call of Jesus in our lives. Let us live according to that call.
Scripture quotation taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.