Zacchaeus Repents

“Zacchaeus Repents,” Friend, May 1995, 30

Zacchaeus Repents

(See Luke 19:1–10.)

Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:7).

Zacchaeus was a tax collector who lived in Jericho. Many people hated Zacchaeus, not only because he was rich and powerful, but also because they thought that he was a sinner because of his job.

Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to visit Jericho, and wanted to see him. When he went to the place where Jesus would be passing by, Zacchaeus saw a great crowd of people lining the street. He was too short to see over the crowd, so he climbed a tree.

As Jesus came near the tree, he looked up and told Zacchaeus to come down quickly because he, Jesus, was going to stay at Zacchaeus’s house that day.

The people were surprised. They murmured among themselves because Jesus was going to be the guest of a sinner.

Zacchaeus climbed down from the tree and hurried to his house. When Jesus arrived, Zacchaeus said that he was going to give half of all he owned to the poor. He also said that if he had wrongly taken anything from anyone, he would give back four times as much as he had taken.

Then Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “This day is salvation come to this house. … For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9–10).

Painting by Gary Kapp