So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. (Luke 19:6 ESV)
Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a man of small size, and disliked by his countrymen. He was a swindler. However, when he heard that Jesus was to be coming through Jericho he very much longed to see him, and positioned himself in a tree. He probably never thought, as he climbed the tree, that he was positioning himself for total life transformation.
Jesus called to the short tax man to come down from the tree and be his host. And Zacchaeus was thrilled to do it. It brought him joy.
The story of Zacchaeus paints a great picture of significance in our own lives. He was a sinner. It was publicly known. He willfully and joyfully received Jesus—first into his home, and then into his life. It brought about a drastic change in Zacchaeus’ life. He gave back the stuff he stole and extorted. He became an honest man. He became a follower of Christ.
There are three things Zacchaeus did that we should take note of; he sought the truth about Jesus, he welcomed an experience with Jesus, and he followed the truth of the experience through to a different life. He didn’t climb up in a tree because he was found of branches. No, he wanted to see the truth about Jesus for himself. When he encountered Christ he didn’t recoil in either fear or religious disdain, he wanted to experience the nature of The Lord. When the divinity of Christ became apparent he allowed that revelation to initiate total life transformation. Zacchaeus saw, experienced, and transformed but it was all because he was willing to receive Jesus. Are you?