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Jesus and Zacchaeus


He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

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Lu 19:1-10. Zaccheus the Publican.

The name is Jewish.

2-4. chief among the publicans—farming a considerable district, with others under him.

rich—Ill-gotten riches some of it certainly was. (See on Lu 19:8.)

3. who he was—what sort of person. Curiosity then was his only motive, though his determination not to be baulked was overruled for more than he sought.

4. sycamore—the Egyptian fig, with leaves like the mulberry.

5, 6. looked up,—in the full knowledge of who was in the tree, and preparatory to addressing him.

Zaccheus—whom he had never seen in the flesh, nor probably heard of. "He calleth His own sheep by name and leadeth them out" (Joh 10:3).

make haste, and come down—to which he literally responded—"he made haste and came down."

for to-day, &c.—Our Lord invites Himself, and in "royal" style, which waits not for invitations, but as the honor is done to the subject, not the sovereign, announces the purpose of royalty to partake of the subject's hospitalities. Manifestly our Lord speaks as knowing how the privilege would be appreciated.

to-day … abide—(Compare Joh 1:39), probably over night.

6. joyfully—Whence this so sudden "joy" in the cold bosom of an avaricious publican? The internal revolution was as perfect as instantaneous. "He spake and it was done." "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isa 35:6).

7. to be guest—or lodge: something more than "eating with" such (Lu 15:2).

a sinner—that was one but a minute ago, but now is not. This mighty change, however, was all unknown to them. But they shall know it presently. "Sinner" would refer both to his office, vile in the eyes of a Jew, and to his character, which it is evident was not good.

8-10. stood—before all.

said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord—Mark how frequently Luke uses this title, and always where lordly authority, dignity, or power is intended.

if I have—that is, "so far as I have," for evidently the "if" is so used (as in Php 4:8).

taken by false accusation—defrauded, overcharged (Lu 3:12, 13).

fourfold—The Roman law required this; the Jewish law, but the principal and a fifth more (Nu 5:7). There was no demand made for either; but, as if to revenge himself on his hitherto reigning sin (see on Joh 20:28), and to testify the change he had experienced, besides surrendering the half of his fair gains to the poor, he voluntarily determines to give up all that was ill-gotten, quadrupled. He gratefully addressed this to the "Lord," to whom he owed the wonderful change.

9. Jesus said unto him—but also before all.

This day, &c.—memorable saying! Salvation already come, but not a day old.

to this house—so expressed probably to meet the taunt, "He is gone to be guest," &c. The house is no longer polluted; it is now fit to receive Me. But salvation to a house is an exceedingly precious idea, expressing the new air that would henceforth breathe in it, and the new impulses from its head which would reach its members (Ps 118:15; Ac 16:15, 16, 31).

son of Abraham—He was that by birth, but here it means a partaker of his faith, being mentioned as the sufficient explanation of salvation having come to him.

10. lost—and such "lost" ones as this Zaccheus. (See on Lu 15:32.) What encouragement is there in this narrative to hope for unexpected conversions?