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Zacchaeus: The Tree Climbing Tax Collector (15 of 18)
Series: Getting Acquainted With People of the New Testament
1. Zacchaeus the Little Man
a) His Occupation
b) His Preoccupation
2. Zacchaeus the Lost Man
a) The Seriousness of His Lost Condition
b) The Symptoms of Lost Condition
3. Zacchaeus the Lord's Man
a) The Miracle of Salvation
b) The Manifestation of Salvation
A local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1,000 bet. The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people had tried over time (weightlifters, longshoremen, etc.) but nobody could do it.
One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit. In a tiny, squeaky voice, he said, "I'd like to try the bet." After the laughter had died down, the bartender said okay, grabbed a lemon and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man.
But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1,000, and asked the little man, "What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weightlifter, or what?" The man replied, "I work for the IRS."
In this study I want us to get better acquainted with a man who worked for the RRS (Rome Revenue Service). He was a tax collector by the name of Zacchaeus. He is one of the better known personalities in the New Testament. Every child in Sunday school is familiar with him. Perhaps every Sunday, somewhere around the world, the little song is sung:
Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
A wee little man was he;
He climbed up in the Sycamore tree,
For the Lord, he wanted to see.
The only place Zacchaeus is found in the New Testament is the Gospel of Luke and only 10 verses are devoted to his story, yet his brief biography has found a place in both the hearts of adults and children. His name means "pure" or "righteous." We when first meet him he was anything but pure and righteous. Yet, one day he climbed a tree and his life was never the same.
There is a story that comes from tradition that when Zacchaeus was aged, white-headed, he spent much time in a garden which he bought in Jericho, near the Jerusalem road. Neighbors noticed there was one tree under which Zacchaeus loved to sit and which he touched almost with reverence. A passing stranger one day asked him, "Why carest thou thus for the old tree?" The aged man lifted his fading eyes, but they had a glow, and slowly came the answer: "Because from the boughs of this tree I first saw my Lord and heard His voice."
There was a day when salvation came to the house of Zacchaeus and he was never the same. His story is one that can be told by every believer, for the day ...
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