Passage: Luke 19:1-10
He 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.
While Jesus was passing through Jericho, a tax collector Zacchaeus sought to see who this man was, that attracted such crowds. Since Zacchaeus was shorter than the average person, in order for him to get a vantage spot to see Jesus, he climbed a sycamore tree. Whilst Zacchaeus and the crowds thought Jesus would simply pass on by, Jesus surprised everyone by calling out to Zacchaeus by name, and proclaimed his intention to stay and be hosted by his household. Whilst Zacchaeus received this self-invitation joyfully and set about to make preparations, the crowd grumbled and muttered to themselves that Jesus was breaking with social norms by choose to be a guest of someone they considered sinful.
Zacchaeus’ encounter of hosting and receiving Jesus as a guest transformed him such that he publicly declared that he would donate half his possessions to the poor and also not just repay anyone he may have defrauded, but bless them fourfold. On seeing his repentance, Jesus took the opportunity to teach, first celebrating the fact that the household of Zacchaeus had been restored in relationship with God, and rightly so as a fellow Jew. Further, Jesus reaffirmed His ministry and purpose of seeking out and saving all those who had lost their way and fallen from God’s grace.
What I Discovered
- Jesus connects with the people we have a natural disposition to avoid, shun or subconsciously judge.
- Jesus’ way of connecting with Zacchaeus was not a request, it was a command/statement that He would dine and visit his household.
- Whilst the transition of time is not fully apparent in the passage, for Jesus to be a guest and stay with Zacchaeus, a feast would have been held and Jesus would have spent the minimum of a night and up to three days. During this time, Jesus would have had ample opportunities to teach and sow into the lives of the household plus all visitors who joined in the feasting.
- Zacchaeus attitude and repentance was clear. He received Jesus joyfully, and fulfilled his duties as a good Jewish host would. Such was the transformation working within his heart that he was only too happy to declare his intentions to help the poor and right the fraudulent wrongs in past relationships.
I will be careful with my thoughts and not prejudge anyone. I will be joyful in hosting people, ensuring my home is a safe environment where encounters with God can be made.