Summary: An analysis of Jesus and Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 teaches us about Jesus mission to seek to save the lost.
Jesus’ mission was to seek and to save the lost. And he seeks and finds every lost person the Father gave him to seek and to find. Today, we will learn about Jesus seeking and finding a man who was lost.
Let’s read about Jesus and Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10:
1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, 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 in 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, the 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.” (Luke 19:1-10)
Jesus was on his final trip to Jerusalem. He would soon enter the city on Palm Sunday. He travelled to Jerusalem from Galilee, in the north. As he travelled south he was not able to pass through Samaria. So, he turned east, crossed the Jordan River, and then travelled south through Perea. When he was opposite Jericho, he crossed the Jordan River again, this time heading west. Six miles from the Jordan River he came to the city of Jericho. As Jesus approached Jericho he encountered a blind man, whom he not only healed physically but saved spiritually as well.
Then, Jesus entered Jericho, and as he was passing through the beautiful city of Jericho, he had an encounter with another person whom he saved. This is the last record in The Gospel of Luke of a person saved by Jesus until the salvation of the thief on the cross.
The analysis of Jesus and Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 teaches us about Jesus’ mission to seek and to save the lost.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Identity of Zacchaeus (19:1-2)
2. The Desire of Zacchaeus (19:3)
3. The Determination of Zacchaeus (19:4)
4. The Command to Zacchaeus (19:5)
5. The Response of Zacchaeus (19:6-8)
6. The Declaration to Zacchaeus (19:9-10)
I. The Identity of Zacchaeus (19:1-2)
First, let’s look at the identity of Zacchaeus.
Luke said in verse 1 that Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. Jericho used to be known as “the city of palm trees,” and was a rich and beautiful city in Jesus’ day. It was located on a very busy highway from Perea to Jerusalem, and thus was an ideal place for a toll for taxes to be collected.
In those days the Romans hired Jews to collect taxes for them. These hired Jews would charge more than the Romans required and kept the difference for themselves. That is how they made their money. Apparently, there were many tax collectors in Jericho, who were overseen by a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich (19:2).
Jewish people despised tax collectors. They were seen as traitors (because they worked for the Romans), and viewed as thieves (because they made their money by overcharging Jews). Tax collectors were not allowed to go to worship at the temple, and were therefore religious outcasts. Nobody liked tax collectors. People despised and avoided them.
Are there people you don’t like? Are there people that you avoid because you don’t care for their morals or actions?
The names Jerry Falwell and Larry Flynt may provoke strong reactions from some people in our culture. But the following story, shared by Falwell’s son Jonathan, describes a moving conversation between the Baptist pastor and the publisher of Hustler magazine.
Years ago, Jonathan traveled with his dad to Florida where the senior Falwell was debating Larry Flynt. Jonathan recalls:
Mr. Flynt asked my dad if we could give him a ride back to Lynchburg in my dad’s private jet. Dad said yes so we traveled to the airport and boarded a beautiful black and gold Gulfstream III. As we flew to Virginia, I sat across from dad and Mr. Flynt as they had a long conversation about sports, food, politics and other ordinary topics. I was amazed and bewildered because they kept talking like old friends. After we dropped off Mr. Flynt in Lynchburg, I asked dad, “How come you could sit on that airplane and carry on a conversation with Larry Flynt as if you guys were lifelong buddies? Dad, he’s the exact opposite of everything you believe in; he does all of the things you preach against; and yet you were treating him like a member of your own church. Why?”