Jesus had recently met another wealthy man who was conscientiously trying to find out how he could enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But he went away sad when he heard that he must give away all his money to the poor (Luke 18:18-25). Zacchaeus however, was the chief tax collector. This had made him very rich by means of the corrupt practices for which all tax collectors of the time were notorious. When Jesus invited himself to his house, the tax collector offered his wealth to the poor in gratitude. Why did the two rich men have such opposite responses to Jesus? It seems to me that Zacchaeus wasn’t focused on being accepted anywhere, he was just trying to get a good look at Jesus. He wanted to see Jesus and went to some real effort. He was a rich and influential man – climbing a tree! Zacchaeus was so excited to be singled out and accepted by Jesus that he volunteered to give away his money. By contrast, the other rich man wasn’t particularly interested in Jesus, he was just concerned with looking good, he wanted to tick all the boxes of righteousness.
Luke 19:1-10 NLT
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
I often worry that I am not doing very well with this new Christian lifestyle. I still struggle with many life long habits that I now know are sinful. I often worry that I am not good enough to be saved, that I won’t make it in to the Kingdom. My goal today is to look for Jesus. I want to be like Zacchaeus and make whatever effort is necessary to see Jesus in every corner of my life. If I try to be good on my own I will fail. If I look for Jesus and keep
Him in my line of sight, I will have a massively better chance of success in everything.
Joshua 16:1-18:28, Luke 19:1-27, Psalms 87:1-7, Proverbs 13:11