The Zacchaeus Controversy
Zacchaeus was a known tax collector. Living in the beautiful city of Jericho, he made a fine living. But that kind of work he did had disadvantages. Collecting taxes from Jews for the benefit of the Romans meant that he had turned his back on his countrymen. He was working for the enemy. He was an outcast. The religious leaders of the day were so incensed at the idea of anyone collecting taxes from Jews and giving them to Romans that they barred all tax collectors from the synagogues. They were socially and spiritually isolated.
Well, don’t you know that this was the very person that Jesus was drawn to? More than once He was accused of being the friend of sinners!
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus but had another disadvantage. He was short. Trying to see over the heads of the crowd was impossible. So he ran ahead to a place where he knew Jesus would be going and climbed a tree. When Jesus passed that way, he saw Zacchaeus sitting in the tree and invited himself to Zach’s home to stay the night. This act of kindness further infuriated the religious leaders.
So here’s the picture…
Jesus is going to die on the cross.
On the way, He is friendly with a sinner.
The religious leaders are criticizing Him for doing so.
Zacchaeus is pledging his good works to all who will hear.
…and in this context, Jesus says these words: "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
What did Jesus mean by this? Why is this statement important and revolutionary? How does it apply to you and me? What was He trying to say to the religious leaders of His day?
These are the questions I will address in this video teaching called “The Zacchaeus Controversy.”