He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 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.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Darrell L. Bock writes:
This text, as so many others in this latter section of Luke’s journey material, reveals basic attitudes about how God responds to the humble and to those who recognize the way they have walked is wrong. His commitment to sinners has been affirmed throughout this Gospel (5:31-32; 7:29-35; 15:1-32). This text pictures the initiative Jesus undertakes to reveal this divine commitment. God reaches out to accept the sinner who discovers he or she can turn to God.
Zacchaeus demonstrates how one should respond to the gospel of Jesus. After recognizing his failures, he not only confesses them publicly but seeks to make appropriate restitution for the wrongs he has done. Moreover, he embarks on a new, more giving approach to life. The transformation of his heart in openness toward God expresses itself in openness toward needy people. Such faith is not an intellectual exercise; it is a change of worldview. Jesus enthusiastically commends what takes place here, similar to his comments on the faith of the centurion in 7:1-10 and of the Samaritan in 17:11-17. Zacchaeus is another “outsider” who has turned out to be an “insider” by God’s grace.
Furthermore, we are warned by this passage that how our community judges us in our associations is not necessarily how God judges. If Jesus had used the crowd’s standard of association, he would never have addressed Zacchaeus. But this episode is one of the most picturesque accounts of the essence of his ministry. The church must become the means for restoring the lost and rejected by seeking them out, not by remaining isolated from them. (NIV Application Commentary: Luke)
Jesus, you have reached out to me, a sinner, and restored me. Help me to live a transformed life. help me to be careful in my associations. Let me be welcoming to sinners like myself, but help me not to venture further into sin in the process.
- What does Zacchaeus want?
- What does Jesus provide?
- How does Zacchaeus respond?
- How do you respond to people whose lives are screwed up?
- How does God respond to your screw ups?