Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The name Zaccheus

Only the gospel of Luke tells the familiar story of Zaccheus (Luke 19:2, 19:5 and 19:8). Zaccheus was a tax-collector of Jericho, who wanted to see Jesus but was forced to resort to climbing up a sycamore tree due to his small stature. When Jesus passed beneath the tree and saw Zaccheus, He told him to come down and invited Himself to Zaccheus' house.

The people who saw all this were disgruntled about Jesus associating with a man who collected the hated Roman taxes, but that was possibly because they benefitted from Zaccheus' operation. These Roman taxes proved later to be one of the major catalysts in provoking the Great Jewish Revolt, which culminated in the destruction of the temple of YHWH in Jerusalem (see our article on the name Annas for a discussion on these taxes and their Jewish collectors).

Zaccheus, however, exclaimed that he would give half of his possessions to the poor, and any excess he might have extorted, he would pay back fourfold. Upon hearing this, Jesus declared the man and his house saved and him a son of Abraham (Luke 19:9).

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