This sermon was based on Luke 19:1-10.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’
8But 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.’
9Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’
- If Zacchaeus was anything he was lost. Not in the geographical sense but in the life sense. He was morally lost and socially lost.
- Zacchaeus was morally lost! Tax Collectors (or Tax Farmers) were notorious for their lack of moral scruples! They worked for the occupying force, there were taxes on everything – it was an unjust system, plus the Tax Collectors themselves would take more for their own pockets!
- Zacchaeus was socially lost! The way others thought of tax collectors excluded him from society. Cancel culture is not a new phenomenon. Unnoticed
- Yet he had a desire, a hunger. He can’t even get to Jesus, he’s a short man, so he climbs a tree. Whatever it takes, because maybe, just maybe, in Jesus there’s the answer.
- Jesus is scanning the scene – who does he pick out? Zacchaeus the unlikely one.
- “So Jesus was coming through Jericho for the specific purpose of seeking Zacchaeus, not because he was holy but because he was wicked and unrighteous. He was a gift that God the Father gave to the Son to save.” – PG Mathew
- It is almost time for Jesus to die, but he has this one last thing to do, to seek out Zacchaeus.
- “If we think in terms of the big picture, indeed, we will not ask why Jesus would eat with sinners. We will ask “Why would Jesus not eat with sinners?” This is the whole reason for his coming, to bring sinners to the table of grace in fellowship with God. Jesus is not ashamed of this. He wants us to see this. This is just the kind of people he has come to save! Of course he eats with sinners!” – Fred Zaspel
- First and foremost the Meals with Jesus series is an invitation to fellowship with him and to salvation. It is certainly true that Zacchaeus is a sinner – but Jesus has an answer for that.
- What happened to Zacchaeus as a result? – Repentance. True change. Notice two things: First, the order it happened. Secondly, the method (spontaneous from him) – Jesus isn’t here to give you a lecture. He is here to bring salvation … and when he does, things will change. Grace has power.