Zacchaeus Is Transformed

Luke 19:1-10

By Paul Korir

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it.”

When Jesus passed through Jericho, the life of Jericho was touched, changed, and transformed.

It is only when we allow Jesus to pass through our lives, our careers and businesses, our families and our communities, that we shall secure the promise of life in abundance and the power of transformation.

When you see a Christian who lives a life of selfishness, pride, and an unforgiving heart, please do not blame them, for it is evident that Jesus, the Son of the living God, has never had an opportunity to pass through their heart.

“A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man, he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.”

Zacchaeus is given a perfect description: he was a tax collector, holding a prestigious position with the revenue authorities. He was wealthy. On the flipside, he was a short man by his stature.

He wanted so much to see Jesus and to get to know him better. He discovered his limitations and designed a strategy. He discovered a sycamore tree and quickly saw an opportunity.

He rose above his human limitations and allowed his aspiration and vision to drive him. He believed in himself.

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.”

Zacchaeus was longing to see Jesus, but instead Jesus saw him, and he called him to come down from where he was. Jesus knew him by name. This is a personal touch and encounter. In the mind and thinking of Zacchaeus, Jesus was to be seen from a strategic place and position, but Jesus is changing the narrative and inviting Zacchaeus to come down where Jesus is found. This for me is the true meaning of incarnation: the theology of stepping down. It is in the ordinary that we can see Jesus. You don’t need to be complicated to see the hand of the Lord.

Zacchaeus heard the voice of the Lord and responded spontaneously. He took advantage of the kairos moment.

Jesus invited Zacchaeus to come down and have the opportunity of hosting Jesus in his home. Jesus wanted Zacchaeus to invite Jesus to his home for his family and his neighbors to celebrate the power of God and the gift of salvation. Jesus is a person of community and family. Allow your family members the benefit of encountering Christ.

“All the people saw this and began to mutter, he has gone to be the guest of a sinner. But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.’ For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

In the eyes of men, Zacchaeus was a sinner beyond repair, but in the eyes of Jesus, he had an opportunity to rebuild his life and reconnect with God, who is a God of a second chance. Maybe people have ruled you out, but there is room to recover.

Because of Jesus’ love and his spirit of humility, Zacchaeus was transformed and changed. He opted to cut his possessions in half to serve the poor. He also sought for an opportunity to mend ways with those he had cheated and pay them with interest to demonstrate his remorse. Because of Jesus, he became a changed and transformed man.

Jesus blessed the whole family with the gift of salvation because of Zacchaeus’s change of heart. Through you, your family, your community, and your business and place of work can be blessed.

A new lease on life was given to Zacchaeus. His status and identity were affirmed: he too is a son of Abraham.

The Rt. Rev. Paul Korir is Bishop of Kapsabet, Kenya.

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