If a person truly encounters Jesus, he can never be the same again. Today we will study just such an encounter.
II. BIBLE READING
Luke 19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” 8 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.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (NIV)
Jesus was so famous that when he entered Jericho, many came to see Him including Zacchaeus.
A. Zacchaeus ‑ The Hopeless Rich Man
- Describe Zacchaeus, looking for clues in vv. 1‑7.
- Why would Zacchaeus want to see Jesus?What dissatisfaction and longings would such a man as Zacchaeus be likely to have? We may not be tax collectors like Zacchaeus. But in what ways do we cheat people? In what ways do we cheat God?
- How did Zacchaeus show his eagerness to see Jesus? Are we just as eager to see Jesus? How do we show our eagerness?
- Zacchaeus overcame hindrances in his desire to draw near to God. What hindrances do we meet in our desire to draw near to God? What have we done ‑to overcome those hindrances?
B. Jesus ‑ Lover Of The Despised (vv. 5‑7)
- What did Jesus do when He saw Zacchaeus?What does Jesus’ reaction teach us about God and the way He relates to us?
- Why did Jesus seem to intrude so boldly into Zacchaeus life?Do you think he saw a deep need in Zacchaeus? What was that need?In Jeremiah 29:13 God made a promise. How is that promise fulfilled in Zacchaeus’ life?
- How do we usually treat people who are “sinners” and despised? (v. 7)How does it contrast with the way Jesus treated Zacchaeus? (vv. 5-10)
C. Zacchaeus ‑ The Repentant Cheat (vv. 8‑10)
An interval of time obviously passed between verses 7 and 8, when Jesus explained to Zacchaeus how he and his family could be saved.
- What was the change in Zacchaeus after meeting Jesus? Was the change primarily external or internal? Why? also for the here and now?How?
- How did Jesus describe Zacchaeus’ changed situation?What is “salvation” in verse 9? Is it only for the distant future, or can we experience it?
- Is it possible for a man who is saved to remain basically unchanged? Why?
- Have I encountered Jesus in my life?
- Has my life changed as a result?
- As I grow to know Jesus more fully, has my life continued to change, or has it become stagnant?
It is amazing how much we can learn from a passage which at first looks very simple. Today we have seen what happened when a man who was eagerly seeking, encountered Jesus. Although Zacchaeus was burdened with sin and despised by the people, Jesus loved him, accepted him spent time with him and saved him. Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully and was dramatically changed. May all of us respond to Jesus like Zacchaeus did.