Bible Stories for Grownups -

Zacchaeus


Luke 18:35-43, "Zacchaeus"
Luke 19:1-10, "Zacchaeus"

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Luke 18:35-43, "Zacchaeus" (8/26/2009)

While I was traveling in March, I listened to an Amarillo preacher on television while I was waiting for my husband to get ready for church. The sermon was about Zacchaeus the tax collector and three people that he was trying to collect taxes from in the month prior to climbing the famous sycamore tree. Now, as near as I could tell by looking in the actual Bible after the sermon, the preacher took three people for whom Jesus really did perform miracles and made Zacchaeus the local tax collector for all of them, even though they lived in three different places. (What do always I tell you? Read it for yourself!) However, the preacher's point was exactly right, namely, that Zacchaeus had undoubtedly heard about Jesus and the miracles he was doing before he climbed the tree. He wasn't trying to see what all the excitement was about. He knew what the excitement was about – Jesus – and he wanted to be part of it. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in Jericho, and one of the three miracles that the preacher talked about did indeed happen as Jesus was going into Jericho.

I've marked two words for you to keep in mind for tomorrow, because tomorrow's paragraph comes immediately after this one, these words – which help tie the stories together in Greek – change to different words in English.

Luke 19:1-10, "Zacchaeus" (8/27/2009) Although I've heard different lyrics, they are all similar. For example, my Baptist husband sings "I'm going to your house for tea," presumably just to make sure there was goin' to be no drinkin'. Here's a video with the version I learned when my kids were in Sunday School. Here's another version that I like even better, however, because it ends up with salvation, which is the point of the story.

Imagine the shout that went up when the blind beggar had his sight miraculously restored! Zacchaeus couldn't stand it – he had to see for himself what was happening. As we all know, he climbed the tree to get a better look, and that's where Jesus came to him and invited himself to stay overnight.

When I started looking on the web, I saw these additional lyrics at the end: As a matter of fact, that's the real point of the story, even though I don't remember ever hearing it sung by a real child. Climbing the tree is a colorful incident. Salvation is the point. "Tax collector," as I've said before, had the connotation of "collaborating extortionist." They were not popular among the Jews. Luke takes pains to point out that Zacchaeus was rich, although he does report that Zacchaeus said, "If I cheated anyone..." – not taking it as a foregone conclusion that he had gained his wealth unscrupulously. Notice that first Zacchaeus zeteo seeks to see Jesus, and then Jesus comments that he himself came to zeteo seek and save people like Zacchaeus .

It's too bad that yesterday's reading and today's are separated by a chapter break. I love the way they are tied together by the words anablepso see again/look up and sozo make well/save. Salvation for Zacchaeus is as much of a miracle as restored sight for the blind beggar. More Bible Stories for Grownups

Old Testament Stories

New Testament Stories

Introduction

Creation

The Tower of Babel

Noah's Ark

Jacob and Esau

Stories About Joseph

Moses Parts the Red Sea

Joshua Parts the Jordan

Samuel's Call

David and Jonathan - Part 1

David and Jonathan - Part 2

The Lost Tribes of Israel

Hezekiah's Reprieve

Ruth, Jonah, and Divorce

Feeding of the 5000

Three Parables of Jesus

Six Short Stories About Jesus

Zacchaeus


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