Who was Zacchaeus in the Bible?

Zacchaeus was a tax collector who was converted when Jesus stayed at his home. When he was converted, Zacchaeus became honest and generous.

Zacchaeus was a wealthy man, with a good career as chief of publicans in Jericho ( Luke 19: 1-2 ). The publicans were tax collectors who worked for the Roman empire. The other Jews did not like publicans because many were corrupt and robbed the people when they collected taxes.

See more about: who were the publicans in the Bible?

On his journey to Jerusalem, just before the triumphal entry, Jesus passed through Jericho. Zacchaeus knew that Jesus was passing by but he was unable to see him, because he was short and the crowd prevented him from seeing. As he wanted to see Jesus so much , Zacchaeus ran in front of the crowd and went up to a wild fig tree that was on the path Jesus was going to take ( Luke 19: 3-4 ).

Jesus came to the tree and looked up. Calling Zacchaeus by name, he sent him down, because he wanted to stay at his house. Joyful, Zacchaeus came down quickly and took Jesus to his home. There, he declared that he would give half of his assets to the poor and return four times as much to anyone who had extorted. Jesus responded by saying that salvation had arrived that day at Zacchaeus’ house ( Luke 19: 8-9 ).

What can we learn from Zacchaeus?

  • Do not give up– Zacchaeus faced obstacles to see Jesus but he did not give up; obstacles arise in life but we must not give up following Jesus – Hebrews 10:35
  • Humility– to receive Jesus into his home, Zacchaeus had to come down from his tree, revealing his short stature before Jesus and the crowd; many times, to be blessed by Jesus, we need to let go of our pride and acknowledge our faults – see here: what is humility?
  • Jesus loves everyone– the crowd didn’t like it when Jesus stayed at the home of a hated tax collector but Jesus said he had come to save the lost – Luke 19:10
  • A life with Jesus is different– after he met Jesus, Zacchaeus abandoned sin and decided to live honestly; Jesus can transform the life of even the most hated person! – 2 Corinthians 5:17


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