Zacchaeus was a tax collector whose heart yearned to see YAHSHUA. It seems that in the course of time, Zacchaeus perceived YAHSHUA to be the Messiah, and desired to see Him, even if only at a distance. Being of a small stature, not being able to overcome the crowd that was following YAHSHUA, he found the solution in a sycamore tree. He ran ahead of the crowd and climbed it to wait for the time when he would have a chance to see YAHSHUA. When they arrived at the place where Zacchaeus was, YAHSHUA looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today (Lk. 19:5). As fast as he could, he came down and hurried to his house to prepare the place to receive YAHSHUA.
Having a life of corruption which elevated him to illegal wealth, he was hated by his own nation, being accused of betrayal, for working for the Roman government as a tax collector. This way Zacchaeus positioned himself as an enemy of his people. But salvation had arrived to his household. Repenting of his greediness, Zacchaeus stood up and solemnly declared to the Lord, See Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I restore four times as much. YAHSHUA said to him, Today is salvation come to this son of Abraham; the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk. 19:8-10).
Much was happening of great importance in God’s History unknown to men at that time. God’s plan of long ago was about to be rolled out in just a few days. He granted Zacchaeus the opportunity to meet His Son just before the curtain closed for him to meet Him. That was a window of opportunity for Zacchaeus to receive His Messiah in his house, and the opportunity publicly to repent by giving back what he had stolen from people. Most of all that was the time for salvation for a tax collector. Zacchaeus lived in Jericho, a city which had been destroyed many years previously by Joshua. It was a city of fortified walls. Its beauty was found in the many palm trees. Jericho was located only five miles west of the Jordan River. It was a city of great significance due to its location. It greatly benefitted from the riches of the Jordan River. At the time of Zacchaeus, Jericho was the center for the production and the exporting of balsam. Jericho was also the gate to the western Canaan.
Because its inhabitants were Canaanites, they were destroyed at the time Israel entered the Promised Land, only the prostitute Rahab and her family were saved from it. YAHSHUA was now entering a piece of history, He had previously visited as the “Prince of the Lord’s host,” instructing Joshua to destroy the city of Jericho. He commanded Joshua to loose his shoes, for Joshua stood in the presence of God Himself. YAHSHUA however, enters Jericho now bringing salvation to a tax collector, corrupted and sinful man just a week before His death. He calls Zacchaeus by name. That must have surprised this short man, as he thought no one could see him in that tree, when suddenly, he hears his name. YAHSHUA said Zacchaeus was a true son of Abraham. He was physically and now he became spiritual son of Abraham, as are all the believers. The transformation of Zacchaeus’s attitude with repentance, reveals his true conversion. To that YAHSHUA said, For the son of Man came and to save that which was lost (vs.10).
Another marvelous thing happened as YAHSHUA came near Jericho: A blind man greeted Him, saying, YAHSHUA, Son of David (title for the Messiah), take pity and have mercy on me. YAHSHUA heard that welcome and stood still before He ordered the blind man to be led to Him. When the blind man came near, YAHSHUA asked him, what do you want Me to do for you? The blind man said, Lord, let me see, receive my sight. YAHSHUA then healed and gave him his sight (Lk. 18:35-43). Zacchaeus and the blind man experienced healings spiritual and physical at a time when YAHSHUA’S life was about to be sacrificed as a ransom for mankind. The Jewish people in particular, was been pictured in the life of the blind beggar when he desired YAHSHUA to restore his sight. And in the life of Zacchaeus, when he received Him in his house as his Messiah and restored his goods to the poor in repentance and in contrition of heart. That speaks volume about the future of the Jewish nation’s restoration.
Listen to YAHSHUA’S invitation: “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” In another words, YAHSHUA made Himself a guest at the house of Zacchaeus, a tax collector, instead of a Pharisee, or other class of people who considered themselves righteous. Zacchaeus was a publican man acknowledging his need for forgiveness. Just as in the situation when YAHSHUA pointed out the publican while at the temple, praying repenting and humbling himself before God. YAHSHUA said that that the publican left justified, and forgiven, opposed to the Pharisee whose attitude was arrogant and self-righteous. YAHSHUA continues to invite all sinners to repentance with a change of heart. He loves the world, the sinners and all those who practice self-righteousness. But there is no salvation for man in his state of pride. YAHSHUA’S blood will not wash clean with forgiveness those who do not seek forgiveness. Those who are submerged in their own filthy and erroneous righteousness. They are blind, deaf and led by their own belief to a destiny of condemnation. Zacchaeus’s heart was right and ready to hear YAHSHUA’S voice, even in his sinful state he responded to YAHSHUA’S invitation and was saved.
God does not measure the extent of our sin. We were born in sin and continue sinning against His holiness in every way possible, but His grace and love go beyond every sin we commit to forgive us. However, we must understand that His sufferings before and at the cross were because of our sins. That’s when the duty of man is to repent and turn to YAHSHUA for forgiveness and salvation, while time and opportunity open the door for salvation. Zacchaeus did. Will you?
There is a special place in God’s heart for those who are of broken and contrite of hearts. He will not forsake or abandon them to the eternal condemnation of hell. Come to Me all you who are weary with heavy heart, and I will give you rest, said YAHSHUA. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no other way to the heavenly Father, but through Him. He wants to make His home in your heart today and bless you with salvation and a position with Him at the right hand of the heavenly Father. Say yes to Him. Today is the day for your salvation! Hear Him calling your name as did Zacchaeus.