Walking Home with Zacchaeus
19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man[a]came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Here is a basic lesson plan. Below you will find additional resources.
Icebreaker Question: Who was the last person (besides family) that you had lunch with (and not like in the cafeteria)? How did that effect your relationship with them?
Read Luke 19:1-10
- Why would everyone in Jericho have disliked Zacchaeus? chief tax collector (a hated position)
- Why else might people mock Zacchaeus? He was short (people often find a person’s insecurity and use that a way to mock them.
- Can you think of a time when you were mocked for a physical attribute? How did that make you feel?)
It was not Zacchaeus fault he was short. In a spiritual sense, all of us are short. Romans 3:23 reads, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” No one measures up to God’s high standards. We are all too short to enter heaven. – Wiersbe commentary.
- What does Zacchaeus do when he hears Jesus is coming to town? he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore-fig. (When was the last time you saw a rich man running down the street or climbing a tree?)
In the Middle East, it is unusual to run, especially a wealthy government official, yet Zacchaeus ran down the street like a little boy following a parade. And he even climbed a tree! Curiosity is certainly characteristic of most children, and Zacchaeus was motivated by curiosity that day. – Wiersbe commentary.
- How does Jesus know to look up when he got to the tree that Zacchaeus was?
- What does Jesus say to Zacchaeus and how does he respond to the invitation? Why were the people displeased with that? How does this compare to last week’s story of Matthew (Luke 5: 27-32)?
- In every other story Jesus is invited into someone’s home. In this story Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ home. Why might that be significant?
- What does Zacchaeus announce after he spends time with Jesus? (gives half his money to the poor and repays 4X – see note in commentary for more insight on that)
James 2: 14-17
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
- What are the similarities and differences between James 2: 14-17 and the account of Zacchaeus?
- How does Zacchaeus put his faith into action?
- How does Jesus respond to this proclamation? (“Salvation has come to this home today.”)
Zacchaeus was not saved because he promised to do good works. He was saved because he responded by faith to Christ’s gracious word to him. Having trusted the Savior, he then gave evidence of his faith by promising to make restitution to those he had wronged. – Wiersbe commentary.
Walking with Jesus leads to TRANSFORMATION
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
- Before he met Jesus, how was Zacchaeus coping the behavior and customs of this world?
- How did he let Jesus transform him into a new person by changing the way he thought?
- What does Zacchaeus offer as a sacrifice, that is acceptable?
2 Corinthians 5: 17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
- After meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus’s old life was gone, his new life has begun. What do you think Zacchaeus’ new life looked like?
Make it Personal:
- What are some ways that you are coping the behavior and customs of this world?
- Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person, when we belong to Christ we allow him to transform our lives. How might Jesus help transform you into a new person?
Here is a preconstructed resources on Zacchaeus:
Here is a video I made many years ago when I preached on this story.
Skit Guys Video:
The Story of Zacchaeus
The Zaccheaus Song:
Here is a lessons from Websites: