Summary: As we dig into this scripture, I want us to examine the two main characters. First, we’ll take a closer look at Zacchaeus, and then we’ll notice the star of the show: Jesus.

Mayor Gerardo Balmori

The Salvation Army


As we dig into this scripture, I want us to examine the two main characters. First, we’ll take a

closer look at Zacchaeus, and then we’ll notice the star of the show: Jesus.


Zach represents every person who doesn’t yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Sure, we

know they’re lost–Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. But Zach didn’t even know he was

lost. Compared to most of the people in the world, he was just a normal guy. If you don’t

know that–you don’t know ZACH! People without a relationship with God are the normal

people. We’re the nuts.

Before I came into a personal relationship with Jesus, I was a Zach, and so were you. A Zach

is a person who is primarily concerned about one person: Zach. Here are a couple of ways in

which each of us can relate to Zach.

1. None of us really measures up

The one thing we all know about Zach is that he was vertically challenged–a wee little man.

When it comes to God’s standard, we are all wee little people–spiritually. Romans 3:23 says,

“For all have sinned and fall SHORT of the glory [standard] of God.” We all fall far short of

God’s standard: Jesus Christ. He has a name that is above every other name! The first step in

salvation is recognizing that in our own goodness, we will never measure up.

2. He was desperately seeking something

Zach was rich, but he wasn’t happy. There was something missing in his life. The details of

this story reveal he was a desperate man. He was rich and dignified, yet he ran down the road

to try to get in position. Desperate people run. We used to climb trees when we were kids, but

most adults don’t climb trees, unless they’re chased by a mean dog, or trying to escape a

flood. Climbing a tree is an act of desperation.

He didn’t know it, but he was looking for God.

The second character of this story is the real start of the show.


According to Luke 19:10, He came to seek out and to save all the Zachs like you and me. Jesus

Christ came on the greatest search and rescue mission in history!

1. He knows you

The first word Jesus spoke to the little guy was, “Zacchaeus!” He called him by his name.

2. He knows what you need–a relationship

After Jesus called his name, He beckoned Zach to come down from the tree. Jesus spoke

those words in love and tender compassion.

Jesus would have been telling the truth if He had said, “Zach, you are a dirty, rotten sinner!

Repent, repent, repent! You’d better pay back all the money you’ve stolen from these people.

If you don’t God’s gonna getcha’ good!

But Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn sinners–He came to save them. He knew

Zacchaeus needed to know he could have a personal relationship with Jesus. Instead of

condemning Zach, He said, “Let’s go to your house.” At that point, the religious crowd turned

against Jesus and criticized Him for spending time with a sinner like Zach.

Some of you know what you are doing is wrong. I’m not here to point my finger at you and

say, “Sinner! Sinner! Sinner!” I’m here to introduce you to Jesus. Sure, you need to make

some changes. Zach did, but you don’t have the power to make those changes on your own.

But when Jesus becomes your friend, He’ll help you clean up your act.

3. He sees you not as you are–but as who you can become

Everyone else looked at Zach and saw a mean, little, dirty rotten sinner. When Jesus looked

at him in that tree, He must have thought, “I’m going to make this short and sweet! Do you

know what the name “Zacchaeus” means? It means “pure.” Jesus didn’t see a crooked tax

collector, He saw a man who could become PURE. He saw a man who could be so generous

he would give half of his money away.

At the tree, Jesus didn’t say, “Zach, you’re a thief. Now, after repent and pay back what you

owe to these people, with interest and penalties, then I’ll come to your house and eat with

you.” Instead, Jesus said, “Come one, let’s get to know each other, and once you get to know

me, you’ll see yourself in a different light and you’ll want to make some changes.”


There are two kinds of people here today. Some of you are like Zach. But most of you are what

I call former Zachs. We are recovering Zachs. We have already had the experience of meeting

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