He Sinned Big
Zacchaeus, though a Jew, worked for the occupying Roman government. A collaborator. A tax collector who took extra for himself. This was allowed by Roman law, but broke God’s law. As chief tax collector, he was successful and wealthy—and hated by the citizens of Jericho.
He Sought Big
All that money and prestige didn’t fill Zacchaeus’s needs. When he heard Jesus was coming to Jericho, he longed to hear the traveling teacher and healer. Luke 19:4 says Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree. He ran ahead. He didn’t get lost in the crowd and climb the tree to see above—he planned ahead. More than anything, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus.
He Repented Big
Jesus’ request to dine at Zacchaeus’s house and the conversation they had changed Zacchaeus’s heart. He didn’t just ask God for forgiveness. He offered to pay back four times what he’d stolen, which fulfilled Jewish law. In addition, he gave away half his possessions to the poor. He’d found greater riches in the Lord.
We may or may not have sinned in such a way that we’re hated by others, but we can all follow Zacchaeus’s example by seeking Jesus in a big way every day, and by living big for Jesus.