Summary: This is about Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus.

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Sing “Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man.” Share recollections of Zach from Sunday school: short, tree, etc.

Read Luke 19:1-10.

Who was Zacchaeus? What happened to Zacchaeus?

Who was Zacchaeus?

The only biographical info is right here: “a tax collector and rich.”

* He was DESPISED.

To say that people hated the tax collector would be a massive understatement. They were sellouts working for Rome. Rome didn’t care as long as they got the money. Tax collectors and sinners were often linked in minds of people. Approx. 10 times the phrase “sinners and tax collectors” appears in the Gospels.


It was easy for a tax collector to be dishonest. It was expected. They could get away with so they did it. The Romans didn’t care. The people could do nothing about it. Many people would if they could. These guys could so they did.

People get fired for dipping in the till.


His money wasn’t satisfactory. It didn’t make him happy. Not only was he a tax collector, but he was the chief. He had position of immense power. He had no friends. His family probably wasn’t too keen on his profession. Eccl. 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.” He was empty.


Desperation causes us to do things we normally wouldn’t do. Zach probably didn’t go out much because of the ridicule. In a crowd someone could have taken a cheap shot. It was also undignified for him to climb a tree.

What did Jesus do?

Jesus’ interaction with people is always interesting, because he is our Model of how to interact with people.

* He SAW Zacchaeus.

The foliage of the tree would have concealed Zach somewhat, but Jesus still saw him. Do we see people? Or do we just keep on walking or driving? Do you see the single mom struggling with a bag of groceries and a car seat and a little one? Do you notice people? Or are we so caught up in where we’re going?

* He STAYED with Zacchaeus.

Not only did he notice Zach, he spent time with him. Jericho was a city where many priests lived, and one would expect Jesus to stay with on of them. Do we invest time in the lives of others?

* He SAVED Zacchaeus.

The greatest gift that Jesus can give us is salvation. Purpose statements are popular in this day and age. Jesus’ purpose statement is in verse 10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” With Christ as our model that should also be our purpose. That’s not just for the corporate church, but for us individually as well.

What did the crowd do?

Crowd reaction can swing the mood of an event. The crowd was whipped up into a frenzy when Jesus was on trial. In sports they talk about the “home field advantage.” Zach had heard it all before.


They griped that Jesus was hanging with the wrong crowd. On more than one occasion Jesus was criticized for socializing with sinners. Jesus wore the badge “Friend of Sinners” with pride. Do people accuse you of being a friend of sinners? This church has to be a friend of sinners. It would be cool if we a reputation as a place where sinners felt welcomed.


That called Zach a sinner. There is something eerie about the fierceness of this attack and the unanimity of it. Keep in mind that we are all sinners saved by grace. Since God has extended grace to us, the least we can do is extend grace to others.

These people were spiritually arrogant. Woe to us if that ever happens here.

What happened to Zacchaeus?

Some things happened to Zach after his encounter with Jesus. Any time we encounter Christ things will happen to us.


Zach had a change of heart. When we encounter Christ we are changed. That change could be any number of things. We could give our life to him. We could deepen our relationship with him. We could commit to do something for him. There is a negative side to that as well. We can choose to ignore his call on our life. We can close our ears and refuse to listen. We can turn our back and walk away. Zach chose to follow Jesus. What will you do?


Zach righted the wrongs he had committed. It was above and beyond was necessary, but it points to something larger.

When we encounter Christ and choose to follow him, there is a fundamental change in our life. There is an ethical change. It wasn’t enough for Zach to say he would follow Jesus, he had to back it up with some action. “Talk is cheap.”

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