Who was Zacchaeus?
Here's the answer:
Have you heard the song that goes "Zacchaeus was a wee little man..."? It’s based on a real person!
"So what are you waiting for? Get up and call on his name. Be baptized. Have your sins washed away" (Acts 22:16).
Zacchaeus is a character we meet in the book of Luke. He was a tax collector, and like most tax collectors, he often acted untruthfully, asking people for more money than was actually needed. This explains not only why tax collectors were unpopular with the people, but also why they were very rich!
Zacchaeus was a short man, and the story says he had to climb a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus when He passed through town. Zacchaeus couldn't see Jesus over the heads of all the people who were gathering around Him.
Imagine the amazement of all the people—and of Zacchaeus himself—when Jesus stopped and told Zacchaeus to come down because He wanted to go to Zacchaeus’s house! Imagine, a man like Jesus going off with this little cheat!
But then something happened that would shock everyone even more. Zacchaeus changed because of His day with Jesus. In fact, he promised not only to pay back money to anyone he had cheated, but that he would pay back four times the amount he took from them.
This story shows how Jesus came to look for and save people like Zacchaeus. When we look for Jesus like Zacchaeus did, we too can be changed. Even if we are small or feel we are too young; if we look for Jesus, He will stop and invite us to come to Him.
Jesus has the power to change our lives just like He did for Zacchaeus. Jesus can wash away our past failures, and save us to an eternity of perfection in heaven with Him. That is the lesson we can learn from Zacchaeus: look for Jesus and believe in Him and He will change you, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. To read more about this, check out our article about the path to heaven.
For Zacchaeus’s full story, read Luke 19:1–9 in the New Testament.