Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
In this week’s Gospel, we again saw Jesus meet with a person who has made choices that had not pleased God. Jesus’ friends grumble when Jesus chooses to spend time with him. Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector, a group that the people of the time really disliked because many were dishonest. When Jesus enters Jericho, Zacchaeus climbs a tree to be able to see him. Jesus calls to Zacchaeus and tells him that Jesus will be his guest today and Zacchaeus promises to give away half of his possessions and change his ways. Jesus promises Zacchaeus that God has a place for him in heaven. Those with Jesus, however, don’t understand why he is giving such attention to a “sinner”. Jesus reminds them he has come, not to reward those already following God’s teachings, but to seek out and save the lost.
Earlier lessons this fall have focused on how we act out God’s teachings in our lives. This, however, is the second time that Jesus has reminded us that God is there not simply for those who follow his ways, but is there for all. Jesus came to the world to help those who were lost to be found and saved. When Jesus reaches out to Zacchaeus, he is giving him a chance at redemption (to turn his life toward God), which Zacchaeus takes.
Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus matters to us all, all of us have made mistakes or bad choices and we are all dependent on God’s mercy and forgiveness. In this story, Luke reminds us that God’s mercy will always be there for us, when we are ready to seek it out.
Table Talk Questions
- I wonder why Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus?
- I wonder how Zacchaeus felt when Jesus stopped and asked to have dinner with him?
- I wonder what Jesus and Zacchaeus talked about?
- I wonder why Zacchaeus changed?
- I wonder how he felt as he gave half of what he had to the poor?
- I wonder if you have ever felt small?
- I wonder if Zacchaeus remained a changed person?