10 Things Jesus Didn’t Say to Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus1Last night I had the privilege of spending time with our Celebrate Recovery group here at Eastbrook. I am always encouraged whenever I see a group of people coming together to enter the pathway to healing and recovery with great vulnerability and persistence. This takes such great courage.

I wove together some of my own family story around recovery themes with the story of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus recorded in Luke 19:1-10. There is an interesting progression here of Zacchaeus first seeing Jesus, then seeking Jesus, and then finally standing with Jesus as he strives to rise above his situation and not sink beneath it. In the midst of preparing the message, I drafted a list of ten things Jesus didn’t say to Zacchaeus. I thought I’d share that here.

When He encountered Zacchaeus, Jesus didn’t say…

  1. “I don’t want to know you.” – Jesus was not averse to getting to know this ‘sinner’.
  2. “I didn’t notice you there.” – Jesus was aware of those around him and not trying to ignore people.
  3. “You’re too screwed up to be helped.” – Jesus was drawn to Zacchaeus because Zacchaeus knew he was in need.
  4. “You’re more of a problem than a person.” – Jesus didn’t define Zacchaeus by his problems, but saw him as a real person made in God’s image.
  5. “I don’t have time for you.” – Jesus was willing to take time with Zacchaeus, even though He was en route to the pinnacle of His ministry in Jerusalem.
  6. “I’m too holy to hang out with you and your friends.” – Jesus’ holiness didn’t push Him away from Zacchaeus; instead, His holiness led Him into Zacchaeus’ messy life.
  7. “I’ve heard what people are saying about you.” – Jesus was not overcome by the muttering of the crowds gathered around; He did not allow that to influence His interactions with Zacchaeus.
  8. “Don’t change – just be yourself.” – Even though Jesus met Zacchaeus right where he was, Jesus didn’t leave him there but challenged him to enter a new life.
  9. “You’re forgiven, so don’t worry about making amends.” – Jesus’ revelation of grace and truth moved Zacchaeus to take radical steps in order to make things right with others.
  10. “You’re a different sort of sinner than everyone else.” – In the midst of this encounter with Zacchaeus, Jesus highlighted the fact that His entire reason for being on earth was “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

I’m wondering what else you see about Jesus and life from Luke 19:1-10?

6 thoughts on “10 Things Jesus Didn’t Say to Zacchaeus

  1. In the last year I’ve thought a lot about who Jesus loves and how he demonstrates his love. Jesus sees people (particularly the ones we tend to overlook). He sees them and he loves them…and his love leads to transformed lives. This is a great list!

    • So right, Laura. I’m continually amazed by that simple idea of Jesus’ ability to see people. It is so much easier for us to either not pay attention or, even worse, look away from those around us.

  2. Matt have you read or heard of Richard Beck’s book Unclean? I am in process (about half way through) and it is fascinating look at how we view others as less than ourselves and how that impact our Christianity (and how others view Christianity.) Very thought provoking book.

    Here is a video promo of the book that summarizes the idea well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp-OAJhkoio

    • I haven’t heard of the book, Adam, but it sounds fascinating just by some of the phrases he uses, such as “the psychology of missional failure.” I don’t know much about Richard Beck, so tell me more.

  3. Beck is a professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. Is blogs at http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com

    I have read one of his other books Slavery of Death and I read his blog occasionally. What I like about Beck is that he is an outsider to academic theology. He is a psychologist that is taking his discipline seriously, by trying to understand how it impact our Christian life (and so is doing theology.) But his writing is almost always convicting for me. He is very much concerned with the other in his thinking and writing so I thought of him in regard to the post.

    My review of his slavery of death book is on my blog. http://bookwi.se/slavery-death-richard-beck/

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