Summary: There's an interesting story in Luke about a man named Zacchaeus who just wanted to see Jesus as He passed through Jericho but Zacchaeus got much more than he expected. and it transformed his life. Have you pursued Jesus. Has Jesus transformed your life?
Luke 19:1-10 (Please look this up in your Bibles and follow along)
As we take a look at the salvation story of Zacchaeus it is always good to turn the attention inward and examine our own heart and our own motives.
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.”
Jesus going into Jericho
What famous OT person was the leader of Israel at the destruction of Jericho
After Jericho was destroyed Joshua declared an oath against the rebuilding of Jericho
“At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: ‘Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”’”
But, Jericho has been rebuilt and Jesus is passing through
“A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.”
Both the destruction of Jericho in the OT and the story of Jesus passing through Jericho in the NT have residents of Jericho who are prominent in the events that take place.
When Joshua destroyed Jericho the resident of Jericho who played a prominent role was a prostitute named Rahab.
I am sure that she did not remain a prostitute after the destruction of Jericho.
Rahab is actually listed as a mother in the lineage of King David and therefore in the family line of Jesus Himself.
Now, here is Jesus going through Jericho, the cursed city. This time he is going the home of a tax collector, someone who is despised just as much as Rahab the prostitute was despised.
Many tax collectors at the time of the Roman occupation of Israel were down and out and could not find any other work so they would become tax collectors just because no one else would do it.
Why would they take such a hated job? Back then if you didn’t work, no matter how crippled you might be, you lived on whatever anyone would throw your way or you would die.
Now, Zacchaeus was not down and out and he was not just a tax collector, he was a chief tax collector. Zacchaeus oversaw all of the tax collectors in Jericho.
Now there was not a lot of oversight of the tax collectors back then. The only time a tax collector would get into trouble would be if he did not bring in enough taxes.
If a person did not pay their taxes they could be thrown into prison or have their property or family members sold into slavery. Because of this the tax collectors were able to extort money from the tax payers.
The more taxes you brought in the more the Romans liked you. The more they liked you the higher you would go in the tax collection business and Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector.
But, not all of the extorted money made it to the Romans and so Zacchaeus was not only a chief tax collector but he was a wealthy chief tax collector.
Still there was an emptiness inside of Zacchaeus that drew him to Jesus. Did he want to see Jesus just because He was a celebrity. Did he want to see Jesus perform a miracle?
This we do know, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus but he was a short guy and the crowd was huge so Zacchaeus was out of luck, or so it seemed.
Zacchaeus was short!
Some people just love excuses. Zacchaeus had a great excuse, “I’m short!”
The Bible is full of people who had excuses but overcame them with the help of the Lord!
Noah had never built or possibly even seen a small boat let alone the gigantic proportions of the ark!
David’s fight with Goliath should have been over in about 30 seconds with David ending up on the bottom of Goliath’s sandal but the God of Israel was with David!
And, Zacchaeus was way too short to see over a crowd but something inside of him was pushing him to find a way to see this Man of God!
Here, Zacchaeus is running for something important! He wants to see the Son of God!
So, Zacchaeus sets aside his pride and his standing of wealth in the community and runs like a little boy and scampers up a tree to see Jesus go by.
Zacchaeus is now up the tree and here comes Jesus down the street walking with a throng of followers around Him and if it’s anything like Jesus’ normal visits to towns there is all sorts of commotion going on.
You remember … on one occasion a blind man is calling out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.
On another occasion a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years is struggling to touch the hem of His garment so that she could be healed.