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Luke 19:1-10

Background: “A publican” means a tax collector. At the time of Jesus, the tax collectors in Israel were famous for their dishonesty. Firstly, they were in the service of the occupying power (the Romans), and secondly, they pocketed some of the tax money for themselves. No wonder they were usually rich. In verse 7 we can see how unpopular Zacchaeus was in his hometown.

Verses 1-2 and 7. Jesus is known to have visited Jericho only this one time, one week before his death.

Verses 3-4. In general, tax collectors had nothing to do with religious people and vice versa. After becoming a publican, Zacchaeus probably stopped going to synagogue or the temple of Jerusalem.

Verse 5

Verse 6

Verse 7

Verse 8. The best translation for this verse is: “And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated.” (CEV) In other words, Zacchaeus admitted that he was guilty of stealing.

Verses 9-10

Glad tidings: On his way to Jerusalem to be crucified, Jesus visited Jericho for the sake of Zacchaeus. In forgiving him for his sins, Jesus knew that the following week he himself would have to bear his punishment to the cross. Forgiveness of sins was free for Zacchaeus and is free for us, but for Jesus it cost his life.

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