The story of Zacchaeus is only found in the gospel of Luke, and only 10 verses are devoted to his story. But there’s something special about him — and his interaction with Jesus. Zacchaeus is described as a “chief tax collector, and he was rich” (Luke 19:2), and when Jesus passes through Jericho en route to Jerusalem, Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore tree to see Him, “for he was of short stature” (Luke 19:3). Zacchaeus is just a normal guy to whom we can relate. Why?
None of us really measure up: One thing we know about Zacchaeus was that he was vertically challenged — a wee little man. When it comes to God’s standard, we are all wee little people. We all fall far short of God’s standard (Rom. 3:23), but the first step in salvation is recognizing that in our own goodness, we will never measure up.
We all seek something: People today are looking for something. They seek happiness or purpose. They look for it in money, relationships or a career. But what they need — and what Zacchaeus needed — was a relationship with Jesus.
We can overcome limitations: Jesus was so significant to Zacchaeus, that Zacchaeus was not conquered by his limitations — his height, job, wealth. He conquered them. We, too, have limitations, but God has given us the power to overcome those limitations (II Tim. 1:7).
But let’s not forget Jesus’ role in this story. This section concludes with Jesus saying, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
He knows you: The first word that Jesus spoke was, “Zacchaeus” (Luke 19:5). He called him by his name. You and I don’t have to wear a name tag for God. He knows us (Is. 43:1; Luke 12:7).
He knows what you need: That’s a relationship with Him. Jesus wanted to be friends with Zacchaeus, and He wants to be your friend (John 15:13-15).
He sees you as who you can become: Zacchaeus’ name means “pure, innocent, clean.” Jesus says in Luke 19:9 that “salvation has come to this house.” Salvation is a cleansing. Jesus didn’t see a crooked tax collector; He saw a man who could become pure.
Are you willing to be a tree to lift people above the crowd so they can see Jesus? For Jesus, it has been and always will be about people (Luke 19:10).