Zacchaeus, Oh Zacchaeus! All you wanted was to catch a glimpse of the Lord as He passed by. But you ended up being the only one amongst the crowd of people present that Jesus chose to visit in Jericho, even though He was on His way to Jerusalem. Luke 19:1–10 (TLB) says;
‘’ As Jesus was passing through Jericho, a man named Zacchaeus, one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business (and, of course, a very rich man), tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. So he ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree beside the road, to watch from there.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name! “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick! Come down! For I am going to be a guest in your home today!”
Zacchaeus hurriedly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.
But the crowds were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “Sir, from now on I will give half my wealth to the poor, and if I find I have overcharged anyone on his taxes, I will penalize myself by giving him back four times as much!”
Jesus told him, “This shows that salvation has come to this home today. This man was one of the lost sons of Abraham, and I, the Messiah, have come to search for and to save such souls as his.”
I love Zacchaeus’s heart. He didn’t try to push his way through the crowds or pull on the celebrity card to make Jesus notice him. He had no secret agenda; all he wanted was just to ‘get a look at Jesus,’ and so he ran up ahead and climbed a sycamore tree, but thank God for Jesus (Who knows the inner workings of the hearts of all men). When He got to the tree, He asked Zacchaeus to come down because He (Jesus) was gonna be a guest in his (Zacchaeus’s) house that day. What? Zacchaeus was shocked; to say the least and elated; to say the most. He could scarcely believe his ears! ‘Really, my my house? Jesus, are You serious?’ (I can picture him wondering). Meanwhile, the crowd of people took to grumbling; they couldn’t for the life of them comprehend how One as Holy and Worthy as Jesus could ‘stoop so low,’ as to associate with one as unholy and unworthy as Zacchaeus. They must have forgotten that amongst other things, the same Jesus was and is merciful and loving and forgiving and kind. All they saw was a lost soul, while Jesus saw a potential saint. What amazes me most about this whole scenario though, is Zacchaeus’s reaction to having Jesus in his house. He offered (with no external influence whatsoever) to return with a whooping interest, all he had acquired by dishonest means and also share his wealth with the poor. In other words, he changed his ways on the spot! Just like that? Kai! Please what brought about this 360 degree change of heart? It was nothing but the undeserving, unconditional, never ending love of God that meets us right where we are. It finds its way into and melts the hardest of hearts and changes the most corrupt life. Notice that Jesus didn’t even have to say anything in words; his actions said it all. True, there is a place for preaching, but also important is exemplifying what we preach. Now, I do not know that I would have been able to do what Jesus did; and this is me being honest. But then, thank God that God is NOT man and that man is NOT God. If not, who would have been saved? The Love of God gets me every time! Therefore, even as we daily behold Him in His Word and are being changed into His very image, may we learn to love the seemingly ‘unlovable’ and reach the seemingly ‘unreachable.’ The truth is that the Lord came for such souls as this. Only the sick need a doctor. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17)