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Zacchaeus

• Shawna Boren

Repentance and salvation are understood best in the story of someone’s life. Zacchaeus is a great example of radical repentance and a clear pronouncement of salvation by Jesus.

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In the passage for this week, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and was passing through Jericho. As he and his followers were making their way through Jericho, Zacchaeus was drawn to Jesus. He was too short to see what was going on so he ran ahead and climbed a tree to see Jesus as he went by. This running and climbing was unusual activity for a chief of tax collectors. This would cost him his dignity and probably expose him to ridicule. But apparently Zacchaeus didn’t care. Getting to Jesus was more important.

Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree and told him to come down. Jesus also told him that he’d be staying at Zaccheaus’ house that day which was a great honor for Zacchaeus. This offended the people who were there because they considered Zacchaeus and other tax collectors to be traitors of the Jews.

Zacchaeus was so moved by Jesus that he made a bold and remarkable announcement. He said that he would give half of his possessions to the poor and anyone he had cheated he would pay back fourfold! This radical reversal in Zacchaeus’ life was apparently what Jesus was hoping for because his response was a proclamation of salvation on Zacchaeus and his house.

Shawna connected this passage back to Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus quoted from the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Just like the beggar in last week’s message, Zacchaeus was a part of the fulfillment of this promise.

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Topics: Repentance, Salvation


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 19:1-10

    Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

    When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

    All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."

    But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

    Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

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