One critical skill of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is learning to see people through the eyes of God rather than mankind. Scripture teaches that we cannot rely on our own wisdom to discern truth, “The human heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) The refreshing news for our fallen state is God’s faithfulness despite our rebellion, “Because of Yahweh’s great love, we are not consumed, for his love never fails. His mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Furthermore, our Father knows that we cannot glorify or obey him in our own strength; therefore, he has given us the mind and wisdom of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
In this story, Jesus identifies the one person that everyone hates and chooses to focus time discipling him. The reaction of the crowd is priceless, “All the people saw what Jesus did and said, ‘The Master has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’” Up until now, God had given the people of Israel hundreds of laws in the books of Exodus and Leviticus to obey, and the Jewish culture was saturated with the pursuit of a high moral standard. Someone like Zacchaeus was despised by God’s people, because he collected taxes for the Roman government and cheated the people by unfairly raising percentages for personal gain.
Jesus the Messiah’s behavior is so unpredictable, because he kept pursuing the most despised people in any village he visited. Zacchaeus was the most hopeless sinner in the region. Jesus looked into Zacchaeus’ heart and discovered hope. Over one meal, Zacchaeus fell in love with Jesus and gave his life to serve in his kingdom. Zacchaeus made a covenant with Jesus to repay everyone he had ever cheated 400% back what he had stolen, and he also committed to give half of his assets to alleviate local poverty. Jesus said in response, “Today salvation has come to this house, for I came to seek and save the lost.”
Tax Collector Zacchaeus story sketches:
Sketch #1: Zacchaeus & Jesus – This sketch is the story logo. This sketch illustrates Jesus calling out to Zacchaeus and inviting himself over for dinner.
Sketch #2: Tree – This sketch illustrates the first part of the story where Jesus is traveling through Jericho and encounters Zacchaeus in a sycamore tree.
Sketch #3: Table & meal – This sketch illustrates the second part of the story where Jesus eats with Zacchaeus in his home and teaches him about Yahweh’s kingdom.
Sketch #4: Bag of money – This sketch illustrates the third part of the story where Zacchaeus repents of his sins and makes a generosity plan. Jesus forgives him.
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