Maybe it is because of the catchy song I learned in Sunday School, but Zacchaeus has always been a favorite. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see more depth in his story. One of the things that stands out to me today is the way Jesus treats Zacchaeus with grace. We talk about the amazing grace of Jesus, and we think we understand it, but maybe the grace of Jesus is even more amazing than what we think. Here’s what one writer says:
Jesus does not keep his distance from sinners, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law; nor does he preach condemning sermons at sinners, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law. If Jesus had conformed to their practice of devotion to God, moral purity, and separation, they would not have been outraged by his behavior. What is so shocking and unacceptable to them is the way that Jesus desires to have intimate fellowship with sinners. He visits with them. He sits down and eats with them. He invites them to the homes of his friends and disciples. He goes gladly to their homes; he even invites himself in as their guest. He welcomes them joyfully, and in return, they welcome him joyfully.*
How do you think it made Zacchaeus feel to be treated with respect and honor and love? How do you think it made him feel to instead of being pushed away and judged and despised- he is treated with grace? Pay attention to the way Jesus treats Zacchaeus with grace.
* Barrs, Jerram. Learning Evangelism from Jesus, Crossway, 2009. Page 89.