Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10
His life was similar to that of most people who are outwardly religious but spiritually depraved. He had the knowledge of God but little desire to be right with God in his own life. People generally have expectations of those that claim to believe God but believe those expectations do not apply to themselves. They justify their actions as being necessary to meet their own material, emotional, and spiritual needs.
I would like to Illustrate with the attitude of Greg, an engineer that I worked with, of Irish descent and strong catholic ties that we might remember that the case of Zacchaeus is not buried in the past, but part of people’s lives today. He told me that he loved being Catholic as he could do almost all that he desired to do and then simply confess and receive works that he must do to receive forgiveness. We often spoke of the Lord and I believe that if he heard that Jesus was going to come to town, he would do all that he could to see Him, as Zacchaeus had done. I told Greg that he could see the Lord in the Scriptures anytime he would and that if he ever truly saw the person of the Lord in the Word, he might repent, turn to Him for salvation and be changed forever – saved through the glorious power of God.
In the account of Zacchaeus, we are introduced to a Jew that would keep the law in order to maintain his position, depending on religious works to satisfy his conscience, but had no interest in spiritual things. We see him characterized as –
I. A Challenged person
Luke 19:1-4 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
A. In his stature
He may have struggled in life because of being shorter than most of the people. They sometimes will try to “feel tall” by work harder and being “more successful” than others in their community.
We might only wonder if he ever realized how his short stature became a great blessing. If it were not necessary for him to climb up the tree to see Jesus, he may have been just another man among the crowd of people lining the streets as Jesus passed by.
He not only had a physical challenge but also a social challenge –
B. In his standing in the community. The head of the tax collectors in their region. A position despised among the people.
Matthew 9:10-11 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Zacchaeus was know to be –
II. A cheating official.
A. His community accused him
Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
B. His own admission –
Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
The Lord Jesus testified that Zacchaeus was –
III. A Changed person
Luke 19:9-10 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
A. He was a new man through the new relationship with God in His Son, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
B. He had a new view of life.
Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
C. He had a new testimony in his community.
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
The lesson we see tonight in the life of Zacchaeus is that salvation changes the person. It is not enough to confess with your mouth, belief must be in the heart!