Summary: People sees Zacchaeus as a sinner, Jesus sees him as someone God loves. Zacchaeus seeks the Lord, and finds himself being sought after by Jesus. Only Jesus can transform a life.
A man’s life was changed, from one who people hates to a person who is willing to help others.
• He did not attend a moral course or nor a training class. He met a person. He met Jesus. He met the Saviour of his life.
• He trusted Christ and experienced His love and the forgiveness of his sin. This changed him.
How do we know? We saw a big change after he met Jesus.
• He stopped thinking only about himself and how to get more money; but now he is given it away. He is thinking about the poor.
• He repented. He wants to return to those he cheated, four times more.
You can sense the joy in him. Jesus says, “Today salvation has come to this house…
• No one can change your life. Only Jesus can. He has the POWER to change life.
• He is the Giver of life, and He can restore to us the meaning and purpose of life.
• Jesus says He has come to give us an abundant life. John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Zacchaeus was not a good man. He is the tax-collector; a pro cheat.
• They worked for the Roman government. Rome collects 3 main kinds of taxes, (1) a land tax, (2) a head tax, and (3) a customs tax.
• A tax office or booth would be located near a city gate or port to collect the custom tax. They employ as tax collectors to work in different tax districts.
Whatever they collected over that amount was theirs to keep.
• They use the authority of the Roman govt to press the people to pay up.
• You can gain substantial amount this way, therefore most tax collectors are rich.
The society regards them as thieves and robbers.
• In fact, the crowd all regards Zacchaeus as a sinner. Verse 7 - Jesus has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner’.
• Zacchaeus himself confessed in verse 8 “if I have cheated anybody out of anything…”
For the Pharisees (religious people), they do not even want to eat with them – it will render them spiritually unclean, as if you are a part of their sin.
• You cannot enter a tax collector’s house. Even a house entered by a tax collector was considered unclean.
• Therefore for Jesus to enter the house of a tax-collector is unimaginable.
If Zacchaeus is the chief tax collector, which mean, not only was he overseeing a group of collectors, he has been in this business very long.
• This is what people see – a sinner, someone whom they hate.
• But this is not how Jesus sees him – he saw someone whom God loves. Jesus saw someone who is precious, someone whom He has come to save.
Love changes people. Jesus’ love changes us. Our love for others can bring change to them. How we see a person is very important.
In an experiment, a speaker was to make a speech to 2 groups of people. He was introduced differently. To the first audience, he was introduced as a criminal, and the audience showed a very negative response to his speech.
To the second group audience, he was introduced as a scientist, and he was applauded warmly for the same speech. How the man was introduced determined the kind of reception he received.
But Jesus loves, eat with him and changed his life.
• No matter what wrong he has done, for how long, no matter how far you are from God, if you have a heart to seek God, you will find Him.
• Jer 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Those who seek God will be blessed.
• Zacchaeus has a heart to seek Jesus. You can see that in his behaviour.
• The crowd cannot stop him. He may be short, but he will find a way to see Jesus.
• So he climbed up a tree. No adult will do that, unless he really wants to see Jesus.
If Jesus has the answer you are looking for, if Jesus can really give you a new life, you too will want to find out more, you will want to know this Jesus.
• Imagine Zacchaeus’ present state – he is living in a society that rejects and hates him, in an environment where no one likes you, no one accepts you.
• Just like working in an office environment, where no one talks to you, no eats with you are lunch time, no one accepts you. You will want to quit.