Updated: Mar 23, 2019
by Dave Miller
A very rich man who lived in Jericho heard the man named Jesus was passing through town. He hurried along the outskirts of the crowd looking for a space to push through to the front. Finding none, he figured the large sycamore tree at the edge of town would be the perfect place to outrun the crowd and get a better view. He crawled, as quickly as a short man could, out to a branch where he could see Jesus in the distance. His curiosity was so strong and fascination so overwhelming, the idea of the chief tax collector in town climbing a tree had little effect on his pride.
Jesus came ever closer. Then, all of a sudden, the man looked and caught the eye of the Savior. They locked gaze and Jesus called him by name, “Zacchaeus!” He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. No one in town took time for him. There were few who held any feeling for him other than derision. Zacchaeus had cheated just about everyone. As the chief tax collector he charged more than required more than a few times. The city of course knew, and resented his comfortable life on their dime. Yet, here was the famous teacher calling his name.
“Zacchaeus!” Jesus called. “Hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
Overjoyed Zacchaeus didn’t have time to notice the jaws of the crowd on the ground as he bolted down the tree and headed home with Jesus. The town couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Didn’t Jesus know who Zacchaeus was? He was a sinner, the worst of them! The crowd just complained to each other, all wishing Jesus had called their name. But for Zacchaeus something had changed. Curiosity morphed into awe and fascination and had transformed into hope.
Zacchaeus announced in front of Jesus and all in his home, ““Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” The wee little man just gives up his money in an instant. A change has happened because Jesus is in the mix.
Jesus responded, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Interesting moment. In the home of a hated tax collector on a day that Jesus was just passing through, Jesus reveals the point of his life and death, to seek and to save the lost.
Why Zacchaeus? Why take the time that day? The story of the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, is a story of glory to glory. Yet, tucked in the middle is a bloody, shameful, utterly contemptuous cross between a thief and murderer. Somehow we must make sense of the cross and the pathway to glory through suffering. We must make sense of God’s tenacious love for man, the pinnacle of his creation, that led the Son of God to leave behind the glory of heaven and become obedient to death, even death on a cross. We must connect why the Glory of God is intricately connected to the salvation of man. In order to find these answers we dive deeply into the Gospel. In the Gospel we find the truth of how a man, dead in sin, is made alive in Jesus Christ.God purposes to be glorified through the salvation of man in Jesus Christ who was sent by the Father to seek and save those who were lost.
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Sentergy: When Jesus, People, Practice and Theology Collide
Chapter 1: The Glory of God
Chapter 2: The Glory of God in Jesus
Chapter 3: The Glory of God in the Gospel
Chapter 4: The Glory of God in Disciple Making
Chapter 5: If You Love Me You Will Obey What I Command
Chapter 6: Monday Morning Disciple Making
Chapter 7: Monday Morning Disciple Making Part 2
Interlude: The Father's Heart
Conclusion: The Lump In Your Throat