The famous story of Zacchaeus, a rich man, but also a “chief tax collector” (19:2). The story is not simply about a rich man who is saved and becomes generous. It is a story about a rich man who is a collaborator with the occupying Roman officials who is saved and becomes generous. Jesus’ astonishing grace towards him is not only the grace of God towards a rich person, it is the grace of God towards someone who has betrayed his people and extortioned them. This is why Zacchaeus offers to restore “fourfold” that which he has defrauded from people (19:8).
Note: the grace of God is available even to those who cheat and betray.
Note also: when the grace of God falls on a rich person, the inevitable response is generosity. When Zacchaeus responds with generosity in verse 8, Jesus then declares “salvation has come to this house” (19:9). It is the sign that he has been saved. Are we generous with what we have? Do we respond with joy that leads to wanting to share our good fortunes with other people?
Note finally the key mission of Jesus (and of Jesus’ followers): “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (19:10). Let us rejoice that Jesus came to seek and save those, like each of us, who were lost. And let us reflect that mission of Jesus in joyfully spreading the good news of Jesus and living out that good news in lives of generosity.
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