When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
We see how Jesus breaks the norm in this passage by requesting to go to a sinner's house for lunch, which was against the religious culture. Zacchaeus would never have thought that Jesus would want to spend time with him, let alone that Jesus knew his name. He also ran to Jesus with a sense of urgency when Jesus called.
I love how radical Jesus is with His love. He goes for the one in the crowd that everyone despised. God’s grace is truly scandalous. He didn’t hold Zach’s past against him. God’s love is always right now, in the present.
I also find it interesting that He was the “chief” tax collector ... meaning he had power and prestige, yet Jesus still references him as lost. He had people working for him. He had influence. He had prominence. But even with all that he was still lost. Reminds me of us in NYC. So many of us are here trying to seek to “find” ourselves in what the world has to offer but if we seek to “find” ourselves in the world we will be “lost” forever. It’s only when we meet Jesus that we find our true selves.
That’s good stuff! And I love that true revelation and relationship with Jesus creates true transformation. Look what happened in Zach when he met Jesus: he decided to give back to the poor. You can tell his identity and his security were no longer in his social status or his wealth, but in Jesus!