ZACCHAEUS WAS A WEE LITTLE MAN
“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.”
Luke 19:9-10 (ESV)
In Luke 19, while passing through Jericho, Jesus decides to stay at Zacchaeus’s house. Luke tells us that ‘Zacc’ was a ‘chief tax collector and rich, basically, a sell-out who charged exorbitant taxes and skimmed off the top. It is inferred that the townspeople despised him because of his behavior. So much so, that they grumbled about Jesus’ choice to spend the day with him. I assure you that their mutterings were rooted in their disdain for Zacchaeus. Their accusations were not simply grounded in the thought of, ‘Oh! Why didn’t Jesus pick me?’
Shockingly, shortly after the ‘Occupy Zacchaeus’ movement, something amazing happens. Luke does not detail Jesus’ time with him, but we know that Zacc turns over a new leaf. He restores to the townsfolk what he had stolen from them (fourfold!) (I now picture them no longer grumbling, but happy)! In a single conversation, Jesus spoke affirmation and showed love to Zacc. Jesus’ whole-hearted compassion, not the people’s seemingly justified dismissal of him, altered the entire livelihood of the town.
We can speedily deduce what happened to Zacchaeus because it is the same thing that has happened to so many of us. Jesus spied us in our tree, called, accepted, and restored us. Now, Jesus redeems our time, beckoning us to be a demonstration of his love and to spy out people who have been treed. Let us remember to model our behavior after Jesus, who always keeps his eyes open for the lowly and exalted.
Practical Application: Is there anyone that you know who has been pushed out by the crowd (remember Zacchaeus was not a stranger), but is still interested in Jesus? Is there anything that you can do to show Jesus’ love and welcome them back into the community? If so, try it out the next time you see them.