A rich and short man’s curiosity resulted in a big transformation! A huge change!
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. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:8-10).
People hated him but a curiosity aroused in him.
Jesus changed many people’s lives forever. Whoever came in contact with Him was not the same. Jesus reached out to many people from different backgrounds, styles, and cultures. But their life changed for good forever when He encountered people. Our study today is about a man called Zacchaeus who was rich but short in stature and how Jesus changed his life radically for good.
Zacchaeus was a rich and short man. He was not just a tax collector but a chief tax collector. He was an employee of the Roman Empire. The people disliked tax collectors and chief collectors of the Roman Government because they were notorious for overcharging the people. The problem people faced was this. If Rome’s tax levy was 10 percent, they charged 15 or 20 percent. The difference was their portion. Because the tax collectors had the power and authority of the Government of Rome, no one could hurt them. They made money by this overcharging of ordinary people. And Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector- A senior tax collector or a manager of tax collectors.
Zacchaeus heard about Jesus. He understood Jesus healed many people, raised people from death and many marveled at this teaching. Therefore, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. He was curious to see and know more about Jesus because of all the good news, miracles and teachings he heard about Him. He knew there was something unusual about Jesus.
The previous chapter (18) ends with a description of Jesus’s journey to Jericho. When he was approaching the city of Jericho, there was a man called Bartimaeus who was blind sitting on the roadside begging. By hearing the big sound of a multitude, he asked what is going on. They said to him Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Immediately when he heard Jesus is passing by, he called out in a loud voice said, “the Son of David, have mercy on me!” The leaders who led the way for Jesus sternly commanded him to be quiet. But Bible says He kept on crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when this man came near to Jesus, He asked what do you want Me to do for you? The man said, Lord, I want to regain my sight! Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well. Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God. When the people saw this, they gave praises to God.
The above account was just one of the numerous compassionate and gracious healings and deliverances recorded in the pages of the Bible by Jesus Christ. Maybe Zacchaeus heard about all these good reports about Jesus, and that could be the reason why he wanted to see Jesus. Or Zacchaeus knew that he overcharged many people and made himself rich by cheating people. The Spirit of God was working in his heart to go and see Jesus clean up His messed life. You see, if God is at work in your heart and life, you will get the hunger to know God and His ways. You will want to see Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You will develop a thirst for Him. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in a person. Do you want to know more about Jesus? I can tell you God’s Holy Spirit is at work inside you to bring you to Jesus. Zacchaeus ran ahead of the crowd with his determination to see Jesus and then climbed on a sycamore tree so that he can sit there and see Jesus. He had to overcome some hindrances to reach out and see Jesus. The crowd was too large, and he was short and was unable to see Jesus over the heads of other people.
Beloved, Don’t you agree, other people around you can become a problem for you to see Jesus and know him more? Your friends, family and even so-called church-going people. The leaders of the multitude said to the blind man to be quiet and do not call Jesus in a loud voice. But when he kept crying in a loud voice, Jesus Himself stopped and talked to him and miraculously restored his eyesight. The big crowd became a hindrance for Zacchaeus also to see Jesus. He had to ran ahead of the crowd and climb on a sycamore tree to see Jesus properly. How about you? Do you worry about what people would say about you? The pressure of other people around you can quench your desire and thirst for God. People may say to you, stop following Jesus. You should not do it and you are not fit for this etc. But you see, both these men did not care about the people around them. The blind man cried out in loud voice although they asked him to be quiet and got the blessings from Jesus. He got his eyesight back. Now he could see all the shapes, styles, colors, trees, sky and his relatives and friends. What a joy! Zacchaeus had to run ahead of the crowd and climb on a tree to see Jesus. If crowd stops you and ask you to be quiet about Jesus, you can tell them that I want to see Jesus and learn more about Him, no matter what! Zacchaeus knew that these people wouldn’t be there with him for a long time. But after all, I want someone who will be with me all of my future. Do you know I don’t remember many of friends I had in my school days? Now I live in another country, and I don’t even know about my college friends either. They were my good friends but only for a short period. You see people gradually goes away from your life. They may be with you for an average of 7-10 years but not going to be with you after a short period of time. You can say I do care about Jesus Christ because He will be with me forever and all thru the eternity. So ignore the peer pressure and follow Christ. Be thirsty for God and His kingdom. Make loud voice to talk to Jesus and ran ahead of the crowd and climb a tree or whatever you should do, do it so that you can see Jesus Christ.
Jesus was walking in the midst of the crowd, and when he came to the sycamore tree, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” I am sure Zacchaeus was stunned and almost frozen. He never expected Jesus to stop right below the tree and call him by his name. How do you know my name?
Do you know Jesus knew all about people before He met them? Because Jesus Christ is God, who is incarnate. He is the Son of God who came down to this earth to save you and me from our sins. He knows all about you- your name, the place you were standing or sitting, where you born, etc. Nothing is unknown to Him because He is God. There were other incidents in the Bible to prove this fact. He was talking to a woman in Samaria. Jesus told all about her past. She was astonished and went to her city and reported to everyone there and said, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done.” Large number of people based on her testimony came out to see Jesus. It says many of the Samaritans believed in Jesus and they testified ‘we know that this One (referring to Jesus) is indeed the savior of the world.
There was another occasion when Jesus found Phillip, He said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Phillip found Nathanael and said to him, “ We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Then Nathanael replied and said, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Did you hear what Jesus said to Nathanael? First Jesus said about his inner character. An Israelite in whom there is no deceit, and then Jesus said He saw Nathanael when he was still sitting under the fig tree before Philip called him. Nathanael understood Jesus is the Son of God.
Resulted in a big transformation.
Now when Jesus said to Zacchaeus to hurry and come down, Bible says he rushed and came down almost as he fell from the tree. Such was the power and authority behind the words of Jesus. He did not reply to Jesus I would just sit here, and it is not a good day to come to my house. He never expected Jesus and this vast crowds to go to his house and he was not planned for it. But it was not a problem. When Jesus comes to your home, that is the best day ever no matter how mess your home or your lives are. It does not matter how much mess and baggage we have. He is coming in to clean thoroughly and make you a brand new creation by His divine power. Then it says Zacchaeus accepted Jesus gladly. It means he accepted the call of Jesus to come into his home and life. The word ‘accepted Him’ has much deeper meaning. It does not just mean he accepted Jesus like any other person. It means deep in his heart; he felt a massive change. He knew what he was doing was not correct. He was ready for a significant transformation. That is why he repented genuinely. Zacchaeus said to Jesus, “”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.” This was the direct result of genuine repentance. He was not acting in front of Jesus and other people. This was a real repentance when Jesus came into him. More than Jesus came into his house; He came into Zacchaeus heart and personal life for ever.
When crowd saw Jesus went to Zacchaeus house, they grumbled and said, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Even today, the crowd would say the same grumbling words, when Jesus goes into the house of a sinner. But they never know the fact Jesus always like to go to the home of sinners and change them to a saint. Not only He changes a sinner to a saint, but also, He will always be with them to the end of their life and through the all of eternity. What a marvelous savior Jesus is!
Jesus said this in Zacchaeus house, “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 the lost.”
All are welcome to God now. You have a personal invitation- Come.
Jesus came to seek and save the people who are lost in their sins. In fact, this is the whole purpose of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to turn sinners into saints. Jesus wants to declare this announcement loud and clear -people who are unworthy to go to God’s presence (truly all of us) are now welcome to come in through His matchless name. “The Son of Man (Jesus Christ) came to seek and to save the lost”. Zacchaeus thought he was seeking and looking for Jesus. But don’t you think the opposite was true? Jesus was seeking him, wasn’t He?
My friend, Jesus changed many people from different backgrounds. Multicolor, multi-culture, multi-nation people because He shed his blood for all of our sins. This is why He came to this world. He is the savior of the whole world. He is not just the God and savior of Christians. He is the only savior of the world. You can stand in front of an idol, animal, sun, river and sacred places and pray. These will never save you and grant you eternal life in heaven when you die. You and I need to come to the right place and source of forgiveness and eternal life. That place is Christ Jesus. Acts 8:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name given among men, by which we must be saved.” Salvation is available only in Christ Jesus because He carried your sins on His shoulders and went to the cross of Calvary, died in your place and then rose again for the forgiveness of your sins. All the judgments of our sins are paid in full by Christ on the Calvary. Now, come to a loving God in and through the name of the savior- Jesus Christ.
Like Jesus called Zacchaeus name, He knows your name. He knows all about your past, present, and future because He is God. He invites you today personally. He calls you with your name. He says hurry and come down from where ever you are. Maybe you are far away from God. It does not matter. Perhaps you are in addiction or an immoral relationship and lifestyle. You may be thinking it is too late to come to Jesus. Dear, it is never late. This is the moment Jesus knocks on your door. He will change you to a new person, and you will love it. Your guilts, burdens, and sorrows will go away. Bible says He will give you a new song in your mouth and a thankful heart toward Him. You will start praising God for His mighty deliverance in your life. Do not try to clean your messes by your efforts. You will not be able to wash your messes. You need a mighty savior who can get you out of your messes. That is why Jesus is calling you right now. Hurry and come down to Jesus. Do not delay. Do not say I will think about it and do it later. Because if you do not hurry and come to Him now, you are not going to come to Him another time. He calls your name and go to Him now.
When He calls you, there are many promises attached to that call. It is not just a casual talk and spending few minutes with Him. It is a lifelong fellowship and friendship with your creator and the creator of the whole universe. His call is filled with wonderful and divine promises. God said “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Bible promises He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Can you fathom God’s riches? According to God’s riches by the name of Christ Jesus, He will supply all your needs. Your future is safe and secure in God’s hand and Jesus’s hand. Jesus said, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” You are going to be in Jesus’s hand and Father God’s hand. God grants you forgiveness of all your sins – past, present, and future and going to take you to His presence in the moment of your death. At the time of your death, if Christ does not come to take his children before it, you will be raptured to His presence in heaven for all of eternity. When you invite Jesus to your life, it comes with a lot of promises for your safety, security and well being. You will be filled with God’s peace, grace and love all through your life.
Jesus calls you personally and He calls you with His promises. Like Zacchaeus, you and I know we are sinners who need a savior. Bible says all are sinners. There is not even one person who does right all the time. We all need a big savior who can save/rescue us. Come out of your closet of self-deception and acknowledge your sins to Jesus. Sin is not just big ones like murder or adultery. All un right behavior, attitudes, and words are also sins. All lawlessness is sin. All are tainted by sins because we all are born with a sinful nature as Adam’s posterity. There is nothing we can do about it. Jesus Christ, the son of God, the savior of the world has to rescue us from its power and grip.
First, accept that you are a sinner. That is the truth you can not ignore. Just accept the fact as it is. Do not try to hide it or fake it. Then believe you need a savior. Bible says whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be save. It does not matter who they are- thieves, criminals, murderers, good people, bad people, poor people, rich people, educated, uneducated, black, white, Asians, tribal people- all need the savior. If you call upon the name of Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Therefore, believe in Christ today.
Thirdly, confirm that you are saved. Bible gives you confirmation that you are wholly saved once for all when you accept Christ as your savior. That is why our verse above promises, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” It doesn’t say may be saved or could be saved. It says ‘will be saved.” John 3:16 says, “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Read again -Whoever believes in Christ Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life. A person who comes to Christ and accepts Him as the savior ‘shall not perish’, but at the moment of the confession of their faith in Jesus, they ‘have eternal life’ granted to them. Immediately at the moment of faith in Christ. Transaction happens so quickly. Not another day, but at the same time of your faith.
Would you come to Jesus Christ now? Please pray after me now.
“Father in heaven, I know you were searching for me all this time. Here I am. I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord. I believe He died, rose again for my sins. I am accepting you my home and to my personal life. I am sorry about my sins. Please clean me by your power and make me a brand new creation. I thank you for saving me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please go to www.teachbible.org and got to the contact/tab page and send me a note. Or go to face book/twitter page and send me a note. I will be thrilled to hear from you and will start praying for you. May the good and lovin[bctt tweet=”Rich but short man’s curiosity in transformation” username=”sam2017insights”]g Lord bless you today and for the rest of your life. Thank you.