Luke 19:1 - 10
ESV - 1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.
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In the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), Zacchaeus showed his sorrow and repentance in the following ways: 1) by actively seeking Jesus out in a way that would cause Jesus to notice him, rather than remaining inconspicuous and not attracting His attention; 2) by calling Jesus "Lord", indicating yielding to Jesus (rather than stubbornly retaining his own authority) with respect to His actions; 3) by vowing to take concrete material actions at his own expense that would benefit those whom he had personally wronged; and 4) by also showing generosity through the distribution of his own assets to those less fortunate than he (but through no fault of his).
Zacchaeus promised to give half of all his goods to the poor, and to give back to the people he'd stolen from, four times as much as he had taken (Luke 19:8). If he stole $10,000, he was going to cough up $40,000 in repayment. This amounts to him acknowledging that there should be a fine for what he'd done. It's not enough to give back what you steal; it should cost you something. The best part of it, is that it was his idea. Nobody suggested he give half of his goods to the poor, or that he repay fourfold. I think it shows him admitting that what he did was wrong, and he wanted to be forgiven. I don't think it was a secret that he was collecting more in taxes than he was supposed to collect. How was he able to pull this off, he being a very small man? He wasn't big enough to intimidate anyone. He had the Roman government backing him up. He was "a chief tax collector." (vs 2) But he wanted to see what all the commotion about Jesus was all about. (vs 3) Jesus calls him by name, tells him to get down out of the tree, and invites Himself to go home with Zacchaeus. That's all we're told. He didn't know Jesus, but Jesus knew him. Why did the Roman government use a dwarf to collect taxes from the Jews? That's the question that bounces around in my head. It's one thing for a strong man to take advantage of me, but quite a different thing for me to bow to a weakling. I'm almost sure it has some theological meaning for us to fathom. This little man had some power to change lives for good or for evil.
“…if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” This is a first-class condition in the Greek text. It virtually confesses fraud. It might be better translated, “Since.” “…Since I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” See Bill Mounce on this. Tax collectors were outcasts. One can be an outcast without necessarily being poor economically. Such were tax collectors and sinners. Jirair S. Tashjian Guilty, forgive me, Lord, I cry; Pursued by foes, I come; A sinner, save me, or I die, An outcast, take me home. --Edward Henry Bickersteth hymn Jesus stayed overnight @ Zach’s home. The crowd must have grumbled, for sure (Luke 19:7), but Jesus’ kindness changed Zach. SMM “True righteousness results in a transformation, a transformation that hits at the very core of your dominant category of sin. Now you can pick a lot of categories. For this guy it was money and extortion. For somebody else, it might be something else. It might be anger, it might be immorality. It might be homosexuality. It might be whatever. But when true salvation comes and real transformation comes, it strikes a death blow at the core category of one's wretchedness.” JM When Jesus saved me at age 16, I started feeling guilty about the way I treated people who were the owners of houses just being built behind me in Scottsdale, Arizona. (My own conscience was at work). A "friend" of mine and I had shot out the windows and sliding glass doors (Arcadia doors) with a pellet gun and a BB gun rifle--of these houses under construction. We did this over a period of 2 nights, I think, after dark. The police came looking for the culprits door to door. When called on the carpet by my Dad in front of the police, I lied my way out of it then. But later (albeit 5 years later when I was 21), I called the construction company and confessed. They asked, "Son, do you know how much damage you did?" "No," I said. "5,000!" was his reply. I told him I'd pay him back if it took me the rest of my life. He said, "Forget it, kid, the insurance company already took care of it." I tell you this true story to show the transformation Jesus brought about in my life. He gave me the desire to make restitution. Refrain of the following hymn: Sweet story of Jesus, the tender and meek, Who came in His mercy lost sinners to seek, Sweet story of Jesus! Though oft it is told, We love it, we love it—it never grows old. Esp. SWEET STORY OF JESUS, THE TENDER AND MEEK, WHO CAME IN HIS MERCY LOST SINNERS TO SEEK. Fanny Crosby, 1881
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