Z is for Zacchaeus


Made it! The end of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge for 2015 has dawned and I’m going to leave this challenge with a story about Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus was a Jewish tax collector who lived in Jericho. He was despised and mistrusted by his own people because his job meant that he was working for the Roman Empire not the local people, and tax collectors had a reputation – probably well deserved – for swindling people, short-changing them and charging unfair taxes. At the time, Jericho was the trade centre for balsam which was a very lucrative commodity and attracted high revenues in taxes; Zacchaeus’ wealth was built on his involvement with it.

Zacchaeus’ story appears in only one of the Gospels in the Bible, and it is told in only a few short sentences by Luke. The story is that when Jesus and his Disciples were travelling to Jerusalem they passed through Jericho on their way. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but being a bit short, he climbed a sycamore tree in order to see over the crowds who had gathered. Jesus stopped under the tree and called out to him, addressing him by name. He asked Zacchaeus to take him back to his house and the crowd were astonished that someone like Jesus would not only speak to someone like Zacchaeus, but would visit him in his house too. It was unthinkable!

zacchaeus

Zacchaeus in the tree being called by Jesus

 

In his home, Zacchaeus’ response was to immediately give away half of his wealth to the poor, and he made a promise to repay those whom he had short-changed in the past four-fold the amount.

This story is important to Christians because it shows us that with the salvation of Jesus, repentance and transformation can be achieved even by those where there is seemingly no hope.

Personally, the thing that stands out for me is that at the start of the encounter Jesus called out to Zacchaeus by name, and Zacchaeus responded to that call by inviting Jesus into his home. That was all it took – a personal call from Jesus and a personal invitation by Zacchaeus for his life to be turned around.

The name ‘Zacchaeus’ means ‘pure’, and some Christian teachers use his story to illustrate the saying of Jesus:

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew, 5:8)

On first reading, this saying is a bit daunting. Who can honestly say they are pure of heart? Certainly not me, but when we look at the story of Zacchaeus it offers us hope that even the unpure heart can be cleansed by the love of Jesus Christ.

 

Advertisements

About Pam Smith

I am a Christian and currently exploring vocation. I am a writer, I conduct a brass band, I am an avid reader and when I'm not doing any of those things I crochet with a fierce passion. I am mum to two fantastic young adults, celebrating my Silver wedding anniversary in 2016 with my husband. I recently gained my Bachelor of Arts with honours.
This entry was posted in A-Z April 2015 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Z is for Zacchaeus

  1. Pingback: Z is for Zacchaeus | Christians Anonymous

  2. Mike Spain says:

    Glad you made it! Congratulations

    Like

I'd love to hear your view, please leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s