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Who was Zacchaeus in the Bible?



    
    

Clarify Share Report Asked November 17 2015 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Zacchaeus in the Bible was a man whose life-changing encounter with Jesus was recorded by Luke (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus was one of the head tax collectors in the region of Jericho, and the Bible s...

November 17 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Mini Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
I love teaching the story of Zacchaeus to children.

Meeting Jesus changed Zacchaeus into a completely new person. And Jesus wants everyone to believe in Him so they can be new creations, too! Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. When we believe that, repent, and follow Him—just like Zacchaeus did—Jesus will change our lives and make us new and beautiful!

The name Zaccheus means “righteous one,”-- The name Zacchaeus means ‘pure’ or ‘innocent’. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus didn’t live up to his name. It was no secret that his wealth was gained on the backs of his neighbors and countrymen.

Zacchaeus, or Zaccheus (Greek: Ζακχαῖος, Zakchaios; Hebrew: זכי‎,
"pure", "innocent"), was a chief tax-collector at Jericho, but this supervisor of tax collectors was not living up to his name. Certainly, the Jewish religious community in Jericho would not have considered him righteous, for he not only collected taxes from his own people but also worked for the unclean Gentiles! And publicans were notorious for collecting more taxes than required; the more money they collected, the more income they enjoyed (Luke 3:12–13).Though Zaccheus was a renegade in the eyes of the Jews, he was a precious lost sinner in the eyes of Jesus.

Zacchaeus became rich by using his position to take as much as he wanted. This left the people overtaxed and resentful of this man who was stealing from them. And since he had the full support of the Roman authorities, the people were powerless to stop him.

Whether we realize it or not, just like Zacchaeus, our natural tendency is to ‘look out’ for ourselves and take whatever we can get away with. It can be difficult for us to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. Yet, as we will see, Zacchaeus had that potential and eventually embraced it. But Zacchaeus stood up. He said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of what I own to those who are poor. And if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay it back. I will pay back four times the amount I took.”

Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to your house. You are a member of Abraham’s family line. The Son of Man came to look for the lost and save them.”

Wow. This Zacchaeus was behaving very differently than the rich young ruler we talked about at the beginning of the lesson! The rich young ruler did not follow Jesus because he loved money more than he loved Jesus. He like some of the things that Jesus said, but he wasn’t ready to give up everything to be part of the kingdom. 

Zacchaeus, though, was completely changed by his encounter with Jesus. Zacchaeus repented of his sins right there, in front of Jesus and the crowd. True repentance means that you “change your mind” and “turn away from sin.” Zacchaeus demonstrated his repentance by saying he would give half his money to the poor and that he would make things right with anyone he had cheated in his job as tax collector. In fact, he wasn’t just going to pay back what he stole from people, he was going to pay back 4X what he stole! But Zacchaeus stood up. He said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of what I own to those who are poor. And if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay it back. I will pay back four times the amount I took.”

Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to your house. You are a member of Abraham’s family line. The Son of Man came to look for the lost and save them.”

Wow. This Zacchaeus was behaving very differently than the rich young ruler we talked about at the beginning of the lesson! The rich young ruler did not follow Jesus because he loved money more than he loved Jesus. He liked some of the things that Jesus said, but he wasn’t ready to give up everything to be part of the kingdom.

Zacchaeus truly became a new man that day. But how is that possible? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come! Do you believe in Christ?

April 25 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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