Seeing with Jesus and Zacchaeus


Luke 19:1-10 was the Gospel lesson for October 30, if we weren’t celebrating Reformation Day.  I remember the story as a Sunday school favorite, perhaps because a child is small like Zacchaeus and often is left looking between the leg of adults when the parade goes by.

Jesus was passing through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem.  A certain Zacchaeus was “seeking to see who Jesus was.” He had grown rich as the head of a Roman tax collection franchise, and thereby he was despised by the residents of Jericho.  He was also short.  But who would expect him to climb up in a tree in order to see?

The key in the story is seeing.  Zacchaeus wanted to see “who Jesus was.”  And Jesus saw him, and knew him by name. He saw who Zacchaeus was.  Jesus invited himself into his home where he intended to stay that day, and through faith remain in Zacchaeus’s home. Zacchaeus received Jesus with joy.

The towns people also saw and they grumbled.  Jesus is too good to stay and eat supper with them, but he goes to this sinner’s house?  Please understand, Zacchaeus was a sinner – he was unscrupulous – even defrauding those who were already poor.

Now Zacchaeus also saw who Jesus was, one who accepts people, loves people and brings them home to his kingdom.  Zacchaeus also saw himself in the light of Christ’s acceptance and love.

Luke ends his account with a word for us, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  We sing of Jesus’ amazing grace, “I was lost, but now I’m found.”  Today look around and see -who are the lost in our community who still need to be found?

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