Summary: Believers need to overcome obstacles at all times.
Brethren, who finds themselves in victory? Who has felt the presence of god during our worship? Let us thank our Lord for His presence for He is here right now. Can I hear an amen, hallelujah? I do not know about anyone here but today I feel the fire of the Holy Spirit on me. Today I want us to examine a small character that before the presence of the calling from Jesus grew spiritually, and having realized his sins and repenting from them received salvation. Let’s now turn to the word of God, let’s open our bibles to:
Luke 19:1-10 - And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The first thing that is very evident here is that there was a great change in the life of this man. But, in order to have a better understanding of the magnitude of this change, it is necessary to know him a little better. It is necessary to analyze his life and know his personality.
The first thing to note about this man is that he was the chief of the publicans, but what exactly does this mean. Well, a publican was the title that was given to the tax collectors. Then, here we have this man named Zacchaeus that was not only a simple tax collector, but was the chief of the tax collectors of this zone. But, what is reality is a tax collector? If we look at the modern day tax collectors, I am sure that we can all say that they are not bad or evil. Here in the United States the office of the Internal Revenue is the one in charge of collecting the taxes, and the employees of that agency guide themselves by the established laws and just enforce them.
But, in Zacchaeus’s time things were very different. In those times the tax collectors were not very popular, the reason being that the great majority of these men were corrupt and exploited the people. This piece of scripture took place during the Roman empire and this city or province was just one of the many that fell under it’s dominion. What was happening back them is that the majority of the Jewish people considered themselves under a military occupation and their way of thinking was paying taxes to Rome was an act of treason to God. Then we can begin to realize that this man called Zacchaeus was a man very hated by the people. He was hated because he served Rome and also because he was corrupt. Let me take a couple of minutes to describe the way these men operated.
The way or the method that the Roman empire used to collect the taxes is that they would employ people in the cities or provinces so that they would take care of this task. The law back then was that these people that the empire contracted would pay an amount of money in advance to the empire, and in return the empire would hive them the authority to collect the taxes in the different areas. But not only this, they also received the authority to make a profit on the taxes they collected. In other words, if it was determined that a person owed ten dollars, the tax collector could charge fifteen or twenty dollars without any type of violation of the Roman law.
Then, here we have Zacchaeus that was not just a tax collector, but was the chief tax collector. What he would do is employ other collectors to go out and squeeze the population. Since this system was so corrupt, any one person having this employment would become rich in a very short amount of time, and since Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector he was very rich. Well, I think that we have all gotten to know Zacchaeus a little better, correct? But there is also something here that we have to take special note of. I am talking about the physical description of this man. The Word tells us that he was little of stature. Why is this important to not? It is important because knowing the history of this man, knowing that he was hated by the people, I am quite sure that no one in the large crowd that gathered to see Christ would give him an opportunity to come to the front so that he would also be able to see Him. It is for this same reason that we see that Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see Him. With this in mind let’s now continue analyzing what occurred here.