He was the chief tax collector of Jericho. He was also a descendant of Abraham. His own people despised him because tax collectors were considered corrupt as well as traitors to their own people. Zacchaeus was also short – very short. So short, that when the parade of people welcoming Jesus to Jericho, prevented Zacchaeus from getting a good look at Him.
He had a lot of things going against him, but he’d heard all about Jesus and he believed all he needed to do was get a look at the man. He’d heard about the miracles and the raising from death of Lazarus. It was as if he knew that seeing Jesus was seeing God in the flesh.
So, without hesitation, he climbed into a sycamore tree and settled in on one of the branches as the parade came his way. Jesus stopped at the foot of the tree and called to Zacchaeus telling him that He would be a guest at the little man’s house that day.
Undoubtedly Zacchaeus was thrilled, but the crowd wasn’t. Why would Jesus lower Himself to being with a thief and a cheat?
This was the way Jesus operated though. His mission was to minister to sinners. Unfortunately that crowd forgot that each and every one is guilty of sinning. We’re all sinners and every sin is equal in the sight of God.
When Jesus arrived at the little fellow’s house, he was met by His host. Zacchaeus admitted his sin and repented. In fact he offered half of his possessions to provide for the poor and promised to repay any of his ill gotten gains to those he cheated, four times what he had stolen. None of that would win his salvation, but it was something that Zacchaeus felt compelled to do. Jesus knew what was in Zacchaeus’ heart and assured him that his sins were forgiven and that salvation had now come to his house.
This little man had a big problem. It’s a problem common to everyone. It’s called sin. The only way to receive forgiveness of sin is to repent sincerely and believe in Jesus. He has covered our sins with His precious blood and washed them away. Because of that, we can rejoice with Zacchaeus knowing that our sins are forgiven.
Sin is sin – no matter how big or small. Jesus has the power and grace to provide a way out for us. Believe and know that your sin has been paid for and praise God for doing it for all sinners – all of us.