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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


33. Jesus Visits Zacchäus (Luke 19:1-10)

LUKE 19:01-10
1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was a short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 
7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

As Jesus walked into the center of Jericho, “the city of palm trees”, the multitude rejoiced. But he was determined to perform a profound surgery on their spiritually blind eyes, that they might see who the Son of David was. He was not only the merciful mighty Physician; but also the Savior of sinners, who has mercy on the unholy, and seeks those who are disqualified and rejected by the society.

At the crossroad of the Jordan Valley, in the city of Jericho, there lived a chief tax collector called “Zacchaeus”. This man was a cheat, like his colleagues, who oppressed the people to extract taxes from them by command of the occupying Roman authority. These tax-collectors took more from the people than the government demanded, and then pocketed the excess amount. Yet Zacchaeus’ conscience woke and pricked him. Knowing that all his deceptions angered God, he wanted to see Jesus to help him and make his conscience at rest. Zacchaeus was short, and unable to see Jesus for the multitude crowded round and gave no attention to this despised cheater. So he ran ahead of Jesus’ procession, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him close-up, knowing that the crowds in the procession were certain to pass that way. The most wonderful thing was that Jesus already knew his heart, his name, and his condition. He looked into his eyes, in the midst of his hiding-place among the branches, and called him by name. Zacchaeus was known to all the people of the city as a criminal, agent, and thief. Jesus spoke to him with a statement which only appears here in the Holy Bible, “Come down from your hiding-place, for today I, the Son of God and Son of David, must visit you and dine at your house.” The word “must” here signifies Jesus’ determination to make clear to the public that he did not love only the good and the godly, but sought first to save those who were going astray.

As soon as he showed this attitude, the self-righteous were angered and hated Christ, for he did not visit any notable persons in their city, but made his stop at the house of the apostate, traitor, thief, and mercenary tax-collector who worked for a foreign oppressor of the Jewish people. Some of them wondered: “Is he looking for riches? Does he not know in his prophetic insight that Zacchaeus is a sinful tax collector?” The situation was turned about. They denied Jesus’ sonship to David and his prophethood, and arguments continued among them until midnight during all that week.

Thus Jesus deemed it necessary to deliver the multitudes from outward enthusiasm, and lead them to realize why he had come. He was willing to meet Zacchaeus who was hungry for peace with God and with men. He knew that Zacchaeus himself had no other chance but that very day when he met Jesus. So Christ had to go into the house of that despised and rejected man.

Zacchaeus soon came down from the tree, and opened his house gladly. He immediately understood Christ’s intent, felt his love poured out on him who was sinful and lost, and thanked him from his innermost being, for Jesus preferred him to the multitudes of the godly, and left them to save him first. With that knowledge and joy, an abiding faith grew in him that Christ had justified and favored him. This faith ripened in him true fruit and works in love. Zacchaeus knew that he could not hide any lie or theft in the presence of Christ. Therefore he opened his heart completely to Jesus, gave up his illegal riches, and decided to distribute half of his possessions to the poor of the city, as a due gift, and restore the other half to those whom he had cheated by deliberate embezzlements. He was also prepared to pay more than commanded by the Law of the Lord (Leviticus 5:16; Exodus 22:1; 22:3-9) Do you have any articles, furniture, or other things in your house which you have stolen? Remove them from your house immediately, in the name of Christ; restore them to their proper owners; and organize your life, for every stolen penny will condemn you.

Then Jesus said that such courageous works of faith do not make Zacchaeus poor, but really rich. He was delivered from unrighteous mammon, and his heart was filled with the love of God. The Spirit of the Lord dwelt in the believer, who opened his door wide to Jesus and his apostles, complying with the leading of the Holy Spirit. Such faith saves not only some individuals, but also complete houses and families. Faith enfolds the whole family: the mother, children, servants, relatives; for the Spirit of God is the purifying and sanctifying power in the world.

The result of the faith that appeared in Zacchaeus was Jesus’ testimony against the complaining crowd, for he had proved that God changes hearts, and makes sinners righteous, so that each one of them may pay his dues and share his riches with the poor. Once again, the entire city talked about Jesus, for he had showed them how he had made the corrupt man a respectable son of Abraham, the father of the faithful. Jesus showed the crowd, by his treatment of Zacchaeus, that the Son of Man had come to seek and to save that which was lost. The conversion of Zacchaeus was the greatest interpretation and explicit expression of this statement.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord Jesus, for you knew, discovered, and visited Zacchaeus, in spite of the complaining crowd. This gives us courage and confidence that you also visit us, and do not pass by us. I, like Zacchaeus, open my heart and house to you gladly. I give back everything I have stolen, and confess unjust acts I have done, asking your forgiveness.

QUESTION 115: Why and how did salvation come to the house of Zacchaeus?


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