Summary: Zacchaeus: From Greed to Generosity – Luke chapter 19 verses 1-11 - sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


• (1). A Man Became A Child.

• (2). A Seeking Man Became Found.

• (3). A Small Man Became Big.

• (4). A Poor Man Became Rich.

• (5). A Host Became A Guest.



• Little boy had his first day at school,

• Said to his teacher will you teach me something that will impress my parents;

• So, the teacher got him to repeat this phrase all day long; "2x2=4".

• Later-on at home when they were all having tea together.

• Mum and dad asked him; "What did you learn at school today".

• And the little boy replied "2x2=4".

• Mum & dad were well impressed, they thought they had a genius in the family,

• Until a few minutes later the little boy said; "Mum, what's a two?"

• TRANSITION: Like that little boy,

• Many are familiar with the story of Zacchaeus,

• But not everyone understands and knows its meaning!

Note: He was a tax-collector.

• People did not like tax inspectors in Jesus’ day;

• And they do not like them today,

• Nobody likes having to give their hard-earned money to the government.


• 2 Taxman jokes.

• #1: People who complain about paying their income tax can be divided into two types:

• Men and women.

• #2: What's the difference between an overzealous tax auditor and a rottweiler?

• A rottweiler will eventually let go!

• TRANSITION: People did not like tax inspectors in Jesus’ day;

• And they do not like them today,

These tax officials were very unpopular with the Jewish people for at least 3 reasons:


• Often, they were extortionists,

• Making themselves rich by taking too much money from their fellow Jews.

• The Roman government devised a system;

• To collect taxes as efficiently and as cheaply as possible.

• They did this by auctioning the right to collect taxes in a certain area.

• The man who bought that right was responsible to the Roman government for an agreed sum;

• Anything he could raise over and above that;

• He was allowed to keep as commission.

• Not only did they fleece their own countrymen,

• But they also did their best to swindle the government,

• And they made a flourishing income by taking bribes from rich people;

• Who wished to avoid taxes which they should have paid.


• On one occasion when tax-collectors asked John the baptiser, how they should live;

• (Luke chapter 3 verse 12).

• His reply was basic and straight to the point; "be honest!"

• Everyone knew that tax-collectors were corrupt, they were rotten to the bone!


“One of the greatest miracles that Jesus Christ performs today,

is to take a dishonest person, from a dishonest world,

make that person honest,

then place them back in a dishonest world and keep them honest!”

• Question: How is your honesty Christian?

• Answer: We should be known as people of integrity!


• They were also hated because they were working for the Romans,

• Although they worked for them indirectly.

• The Romans contracted out to people like the Herod's.

• He ran the region on behalf of the Romans.

• The Herod’s contracted out to people like Zacchaeus;

• Those who were willing to buy the position from them at great cost.


• They were disliked because they ignored the Jewish laws.

• This explains why the Pharisees called them 'sinners'

• (verse 16).

• ill: A sinner was someone who chose to live outside of God's laws.

• e.g. If you chose to work on the Sabbath,

• e.g. If you did not follow dietary laws (ate pork).


• According to Jewish law a tax-gatherer was excluded from the synagogue;

• They were was included with things and beasts that were unclean,

• They were forbidden to be a witness in any case of law.

• In fact, robbers, murderers and tax-gatherers were all classed together.

• On the social scale, tax collectors were on the bottom.

• (Even prostitutes had a higher social status).


• William Booth was a British Methodist preacher;

• Who founded The Salvation Army and became its first General.

• One Sunday evening, William Booth was walking in London with his son, Bramwell,

• Who was then 12 or 13 years old.

• The father surprised his son by taking him to a pub!

• The place was crowded with men and women.

• Some of them were drunk. Some of them were loud.

• And the air was filled with the smell of alcohol and tobacco.

• Bramwell said to his dad, "Can we go now? Why did you even bring me in here?"

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