Posted by: pastordarren | October 27, 2010

Zacchaeus – A Story of Extraordinary Transformation

For those who have grown up in the church and heard the many stories from the Bible, the story of Zacchaeus is one that is probably familiar to us.  I can even remember the song that a dear Sunday School teacher taught me, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he, he climbed up in a . . .”  Anyway, now that song is going to be stuck in my head all day. 

For those who may not know the story,  here it is:

Luke 19:1-10 – “Jesus was going through Jericho, where a man named Zacchaeus lived. He was in charge of collecting taxes and was very rich.  Jesus was heading his way, and Zacchaeus wanted to see what he was like. But Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree.  When Jesus got there, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down! I want to stay with you today.”  Zacchaeus hurried down and gladly welcomed Jesus.  Everyone who saw this started grumbling, “This man Zacchaeus is a sinner! And Jesus is going home to eat with him.”  Later that day Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “I will give half of my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated.”   Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today you and your family have been saved, because you are a true son of Abraham.  The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.”

With out going into a lot of the details, Zacchaeus was a tax collector.  They regularly cheated the people and became very rich and because of this, were not well liked.  Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus and ultimately welcomed Jesus’ self invitation to his house.  Now we don’t know what they talked about, but we know the result.  Zacchaeus was changed and not just inside.  As a result of Jesus being in his home and the conversation that they engaged in, Zacchaeus gave half of his property to the poor and four times back to those he cheated.  Wow, this is a transformation that is not just internal, but external and affected those around him.  There are several different traditions as to what became of Zacchaeus, all pointing to becoming a leader of the early church, but it begins here.

His transformation was so complete and what he gave up and gave back hurt him and his family, but knew it was the right thing to do.  Jesus’ presence and call to him made such a difference, there was an extraordinary transformation that there was really nothing else he could have done.

Jesus’ presence and call and our willingness to follow brings transformation, both inside and out.  At times we may need to give up or give back until it hurts, we may need to make restitution dealing with some past issue or offense, our lifestyle may need to change to become more inline with the call of Jesus.

What transformation has happened or is happening in your life because of Jesus?

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