Only a Children’s Story?

And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. – Luke 19:1-10

            Most of us are familiar with the story of Zacchaeus. Perhaps you learned the little song about him from early childhood Sunday school days. It’s a cute song and a cute story, right?

            As with so many things we thought we’d learned from the Bible, it deserves a second  and more careful look. Is this merely a children’s story? Have we been blinded to its truth by relegating it to childhood?

            Here’s a man who, for whatever reason, wanted to see Jesus pass by. Of all the people in the crowd, Jesus called him out and told him he must spend time at his house that day. What are the odds of that?

            For that matter, from our limited vantage point, what are the odds of God choosing you or me to be one of His own?

            Zacchaeus was held in low esteem by the crowd, to be polite about it. He was a despised tax collector, and apparently a corrupt one, based on his own admission. Who would have ever thought he’d “get religion?” As a result, the religious leaders frowned on Jesus for being with him.

            But Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully. He acknowledged him as Lord, which wasn’t a popular thing to do among Jews. It still isn’t. Furthermore, he publicly proclaimed what he would do to make wrongs right. He was changing his ways. He was a changed man. In turn, Jesus acknowledged Zacchaeus’s salvation.

            Do you realize how significant this is? This represents a major transformation in a man’s life. A loathsome public figure was transformed by Jesus Christ and was very public about it. Do you know someone who has gone through such a transformation??

            Do you still think Zacchaeus’s story is for children? Has your life been transformed by Christ?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Study, Salvation, Thoughts from John

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