Reading: Luke 19: 1-5
Zacchaeus was a man who probably had few friends. We are told he was wealthy. So he was probably ‘good’ at his job as the chief tax collector. He became wealthy by extorting extra taxes from the people to line his own pockets. He also likely collected a slice of what those working under him collected as well. So Zacchaeus was not very well liked. There is a reason he went alone to get a peek at this Jesus.
Just prior to today’s reading, in Luke 18 we find the story of Jesus’ encounter with the rich ruler. He comes to Jesus seeking to know how to inherit eternal life. In their initial conversation he tells Jesus he has kept all the commandments since he was a boy. In both of these things, he is an opposite to Zacchaeus. But he is unable to do what Jesus asks of him: sell all he has and then come follow Jesus. This man went away very sad; he was unable to part with his great wealth.
Zacchaeus finds a place in a tree because he is short and really just wants to be able to see Jesus as He passes by. He is curious. Zacchaeus does not go out that day to have his life changed. He is content with his wealth. Yet Jesus picks him out of all those in the crowd that day. He calls Zacchaeus down and invites Himself into his home. While there Zacchaeus is changed. He admits his sins and joyfully pledges to make restitution to all he has wronged. Jesus responds by saying that salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ house this day. In what almost seems like an afterthought, Jesus says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”. It is an answer to the crowd’s judgment of Jesus going to a sinner’s home and also a declaration for us.
In choosing Zacchaeus, Jesus is saying He will come to anyone. After all, He came to you and to me. Jesus wants to come into people’s lives today with the same intentbthat He came into Zacchaeus’: to save the lost. Who will you introduce to Jesus today?