Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider 19:1-27. This portion of Luke covers two matters: the saving of Zaccheus in Jericho (vv. 1-10) and the Lord’s teaching about faithfulness (vv. 11-27).
Luke 19:1 and 2 say, “And He entered and was passing through Jericho. And behold, there was a man whose name was called Zaccheus; and he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.” As a chief tax collector, Zaccheus was a chief sinner, a leading sinner. He became rich through his sinfulness as a tax collector.
In his confession to the Lord related to restitution and clearing of the past, Zaccheus said to Him, “Behold, the half of my possessions, Lord, I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusations, I restore four times as much” (v. 8). We may regard the words “if I have taken anything” as a euphemism, a nice way of referring to extortion. Tax collectors put a higher value on property or increased the tax of those unable to pay and then charged high interest. This was the way they extorted others. As Zaccheus was seeking to make restitution, he referred to his extortion. What Zaccheus did in restoring four times the amount he extorted was very honest. Nevertheless, he still referred to his acts of extortion in a euphemistic way. A man who had become rich by being sinful, Zaccheus now wanted to make full restitution in order to clear up his sinful past.
Luke 19:3 and 4 say, “And he was seeking to see Jesus, who He is; and he could not because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. And he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree that he might see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.” Although Zaccheus climbed up in the tree to see the Lord Jesus, we are told not that he saw the Lord but that the Lord saw him: “And as He came to the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down; for today I must stay in your house” (v. 5). The seeing was not on Zaccheus’ side; it was on the Savior’s side. Once again we see the Man-Savior’s high standard of morality in saving sinners. Nothing was done by the sinner; rather, everything was done by the Savior, even the seeing. In verse 6 we are told that Zaccheus “hurried and came down, and welcomed Him, rejoicing.”
Zaccheus certainly was an isolated person. He was despised to the uttermost by the Jewish community and was even more isolated than a leper. Especially the Pharisees, the high ranking hypocrites in the Jewish religion, did not care for him. In their sight he was more unclean than someone with leprosy. Nevertheless, in front of a large crowd the Savior told Zaccheus, “Today I must stay in your house.” What a great surprise that was to Zaccheus and to everyone in the crowd! The entire city of Jericho must have been shaken by it. Verse 7 says, “And seeing it, they all grumbled, saying, He has gone in to lodge with a sinful man.”
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