We have arrived at the Sunday of Zacchaeus in which we hear the reading from the Gospel of Luke 19:1-10. We know that Zacchaeus, although a Jew, was a tax collector for the hated Roman state, which practiced oppressive taxation during the times of Jesus.
It was precisely because of his affiliation with the Roman government that Zacchaeus was regarded by his fellow Jews to be a great sinner and a man completely given over to world values. He was not exactly a good Jew and most likely didn’t even go to the temple, even though religious custom at that time would have stopped him from entering anyway.
But there was something unique about Zacchaeus, for He was interested in Jesus, not by just mere curiosity, but the beginnings of a real faith in Him. As Jesus was passing through Jericho, Zacchaeus climbed up a tree to see Jesus pass bye. Then Jesus called him down and from that moment, because of his great faith, he became a changed man, casting off the old self and changing his ways and values. Christ transformed him by His presence into a new free and joyful man.
You see, God’s grace does indeed liberate any person, giving and bestowing abundant life in Christ, when they are stirred by a fervent desire, subsequent decision and new devotion towards Christ. That’s the miracle of this story!
Every person whether they consider themselves religious or not, can experience the miracle of Christ’s abundant life. We all know people who may be in our families, in our workplace etc., who need the miracle which transformed Zacchaeus from a man of little values to one of Great faith.
God’s whole purpose in sending Christ to us was to give us abundant life, full life, the forgiveness of sins, liberation from darkness, grace, truth, love and most of all peace!
These are the gifts of abundant life with Jesus as experienced by the tax collector, Zacchaeus!