God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God
Zacchaeus: the repentant “everyman”
6 September 2014Posted by on
In 1st century Palestine, Romans recruited locals to be tax collectors and gave them a percentage of what was collected. The more money tax collectors extorted from their neighbors, the more they could keep. The tax collectors profited from their neighbors’ misfortune. In so doing, they also helped to raise the funds necessary to finance the brutal repression of the Jews by the Romans. What I am trying to say is that in 1st century Palestine, tax collectors were about as popular as occupying Nazis were in Russia in WWII.
Zacchaeus was a “chief tax collector” and a “wealthy man” (Luke 19:1). When Jesus came to Jericho, Zacchaeus felt a tug to go see Jesus. Chances are that God tugged on others to come out and see Jesus as well. But many probably were just too busy. For them it was a “business as usual” day.
Zacchaeus, on the other hand, not only dropped what he was doing, but went to great lengths to respond to this inner prompting of God’s grace. Ultimately he climbed a sycamore tree to get a good view of Jesus.
Because of his political and economic role as a chief tax Collector, Zacchaeus was considered to be a pariah among the people of God. In fact, some would say that his profession has made him the equivalent of a Gentile. When he sought Jesus, Zacchaeus’ standing and membership among the Jews was reinstated. It was reinstated not because he gave alms and righted the wrongs. His reinstatement was a pure act of God’s Grace. Zacchaeus’ response (to give half of his fortune away and to right all the wrongs[Luke19:8]) was the outward and visible sign of the inward transformation and grace after meeting Jesus.
Questions to ponder:
When was the last time that you went out of your way to see Jesus?
How were you blessed by that experience?