“If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will payback 4 times the amount” – the words of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 v 8
I have worked for many years in the manufacture of vaccines. The process requires water which is purified from bacteria. This pure water is usable because it is free from contamination. However, bacteria always look for an opportunity to re-corrupt the water and spoil it making it unusable.
Zacchaeus was a tax inspector. Trouble was, he used his position to take extra bonus taxes all for himself. His personal pockets were full of cash.
His name, Zacchaeus, actually means “uncorrupted” or “pure”. In Jewish culture, names were very important. In other words, when his parents chose that name with the best of intentions, they hoped he would be known for great character. But his “bonus tax collection” strategy destroyed that reputation. Just like bacteria re-invading water. The “uncorrupted” Zacchaeus had become the “corrupted” Zacchaeus.
After meeting Jesus, he comes to a realisation that his life needs to change.
Jesus takes him back to the name “uncorrupted” that was the very best his parents could do at his birth. But the encounter of meeting Jesus means that he comes right though to a new name that confirms his new identity – “son of Abraham”. This declared to the Jews that he now belonged to God.
In other words, Jesus was saying “Your parents wanted you to be known as a man of integrity. Now I have put my seal on your life. Even the name Zacchaeus is not good enough for you. “Son of Abraham” confirming your identity as MY SON is the ultimate name. The crowd muttered hearing that Jesus had actually had showed Zacchaeus such respect that he visited his home but they would have come to see the change when they got their personal “tax rebate”. Just imagine the scene :-
House number 142 Jericho Street :
Zacchaeus: “Knock knock”
Tenant “Who’s there”
Tenant: “Not you again. I’ve given you the extra taxes already this month !”
Zacchaeus “I’ve come to say sorry. I was wrong and selfish to get extra taxes from you. I used them to line my own pockets. Here– let me give you back 4 times what I took. You see when I met this man Jesus and it changed everything.
Tenant: Are you kidding me ?
Zacchaeus: Please take the money – I was wrong.
Tenant: Could you tell me more about Jesus ? I find this change in your life amazing. Come in and BE A GUEST AT MY HOME. I want to know more. Tea or coffee Zacchaeus ?
Can you imagine the hundreds that would have heard the life changing power of meeting Jesus and would have turned to Christ themselves ?
Are you seeking to reach one person with the gospel who you know has a bad reputation in town ? Don’t underestimate the power of gospel to reach one corrupted person to be given a new name which impacts hundreds.