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Ministry of Jesus

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

Scripture

Luke 19:1-10

Commentary

Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector.  He came to look for Jesus but was unable to because he was short and could not see over the crowd.  This did not deter him however and he climbed a sycamore tree to get a better glimpse of Jesus.  His persistence was rewarded as Jesus calls to him and tells him that He will eat at his house that night. 

The people respond in astonishment because Jesus was going to eat at the house of a sinner.  Tax collectors were notorious thieves, charging the people far more in taxes than what they owed.  Zacchaeus, as chief tax collector, must have been even worse than other tax collectors. 

Zacchaeus responds in repentance however and immediately offers to give half of his possessions to the poor and to pay back anyone whom he had cheated four times the amount. 

When Jesus responds that salvation had come to his house, it is not because Zacchaeus had earned it by correcting his past sins.  Instead Jesus is simply acknowledging that he was a changed man and had acted in repentance.

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