Read: Luke 19:1-10
“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. (vv. 5-6)
The tree that Zacchaeus climbed in order to see Jesus was likely a sycamore fig, a lush tree that could grow 30 to 40 feet tall. The wide leaves could probably hide a man crouching on a branch. Margaret Feinberg notes in her book Taste and See that “the Hebrew name for sycamore-fig is shikma, a word whose root means ‘rehabilitate,’ and that’s exactly what happens in this story” (p. 59).
Zacchaeus had several strikes against him. He was short, but even worse, he was considered a traitor, a son of Abraham who worked for the enemy, the Roman government. And he became filthy rich in the process. Ironically, the Hebrew name Zacchaeus means “clean” or “pure.” Yet he was an outcast in Jewish society and bystanders muttered about why Jesus chose to be the guest of such a despicable man.
His immediate response to Jesus’ simple statement, “I must stay at your house today,” was to offer to repay anyone he had cheated (times four!) and to donate half of what he owned to the poor. Jesus had acknowledged Zacchaeus by name and validated his true value instead of treating him according to his reputation. His divine dinner appointment was the beginning of a new life. Do you feel a need, as Zacchaeus did, to see Jesus? What would happen if Jesus were to invite himself to your house today? —Denise Vredevoogd
As you pray, accept Jesus into your home and humbly and joyfully ask him to stay.