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For the children's song, see Zacchaeus (song).
Painting showing Jesus holds up his hand to call Zacchaeus down from the tree while a crowd watches
Zacchaeus by Niels Larsen Stevns. Jesus calls Zacchaeus down from his height in the tree.
Photo of the actual Sycamore fig tree in Jericho today.
Zacchaeus' sycamore fig in Jericho
Stained glass rendition of Zacchaeus receiving Jesus into his house.
"Zacchaeus receives Jesus",
Church of the Good Shepherd, Jericho

Zacchaeus (Greek: Ζακχαῖος, Zakchaios; Hebrew: זכי‎, "pure", "innocent"[1]) was a chief tax-collector at Jericho, mentioned only in the Gospel of Luke.[2] A descendant of Abraham, he was an example of Jesus' personal, earthly mission to bring salvation to the lost.[3] Tax collectors were despised as traitors (working for the Roman Empire, not for their Jewish community), and as being corrupt.

Because the lucrative production and export of balsam was centered in Jericho, his position would have carried both importance and wealth.[4][5] In the account, he arrived before the crowd who were later to meet with Jesus, who was passing through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Described as a short man, Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore fig tree so that he might be able to see Jesus. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up into the branches, addressed Zacchaeus by name, and told him to come down, for he intended to visit his house. The crowd was shocked that Jesus, a Jew, would sully himself by being a guest of a tax collector.

Later traditions[edit]

At Er-riha (Jericho) there is a large, venerable looking square tower, which by tradition is named the House of Zacchaeus.

According to Clement of Alexandria, in his book Stromata, Zacchaeus was surnamed Matthias by the apostles, and took the place of Judas Iscariot after Jesus' ascension. Luke told us that Matthias in the beginning was with Jesus since the baptism of John (Acts 1:21-23). John also told us that later many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him (John 6:60-66). The later Apostolic Constitutions identify "Zacchaeus the Publican" as the first bishop of Caesarea (7.46).

Medieval legend identified Zacchaeus with Saint Amadour, and held him to be the founder of the French sanctuary, Rocamadour.

Liturgical practices[edit]

In Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches of Slavic tradition, the Gospel account of Zacchaeus is read on the last Sunday preceding the liturgical preparation for Great Lent, for which reason that Sunday is known as "Zacchaeus Sunday." It is the very first commemoration of a new Paschal cycle. The account was chosen to open the Lenten season because of two exegetical aspects: Jesus' call to Zacchaeus to come down from the tree (symbolizing the divine call to humility), and Zacchaeus' subsequent repentance.

In the Eastern churches of Greek/Byzantine tradition, Zacchaeus Sunday may fall earlier than the Sunday before the Pre-Lenten season.

In Western Christianity, the gospel pericope concerning Zacchaeus is the reading for a Dedication of a Church or its anniversary. On Dedication, red-white banners (instead of the usual yellow-white ones) are flown from the Church tower, which are consequently called the Zacchaeus flag.

Spiritual lessons[edit]

The story of Zacchaeus is used by some [6] to illustrate the saying of Jesus: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8, because the name Zacchaeus means 'pure'. Zacchaeus also becomes a contrast of character with the Rich Young Ruler Luke 18:18-23. Both Zacchaeus and the Rich Young Ruler were wealthy men, but one was self-righteous and would not give up his possessions, while the other gave half his possessions to feed the poor.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milligan, Jim. "Lexicon :: Strong's G2195 - Zakchaios". Blue Letter Bible. Sowing Circle. 
  2. ^ Luke 19:1-10
  3. ^ Warfield, Benjamin Breckinridge. "Jesus' Mission, According to His Own Testimony". Monergism. CPR Foundation. 
  4. ^ Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary, page 297. Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988.
  5. ^ Rudolf Stier (1861). The Words of the Lord Jesus 4. p. 314. Trans. William Burt Pope.
  6. ^ Pastor Doug Bachelor, Study on the Wisdom of Jesus' teachings
  7. ^ A Contrast of Character | Zacchaeus and the Rich Young Ruler

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Zacchaeus". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Zacchaeus at Wikimedia Commons
Preceded by
Bishop of Caesarea
Succeeded by
Cornelius (possibly Cornelius the Centurion)

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zacchaeus — Please support Wikipedia.
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1490 news items

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 07:56:15 -0800

Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in ...


Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:11:15 -0800

I'm reminded of Matthew's party, the meal at Zacchaeus' home, when Jesus visited Mary and Martha's home, and when Jesus visited Peter's mom. For those of you who are really extreme you might consider leaving an empty chair at the head of your table to ...
Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:30:00 -0800

Sommerville has a $2,000 bond and a Jan. 22 2016 court date. • RRPD arrested two Roanoke Rapids teens Saturday in relation to a larceny at Walmart on Premier Boulevard. Arrested were Shyquon Dayvon Brown, 17, and Marquis Zacchaeus Manning, 17.
Clovis News Journal
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:52:30 -0700

When Jesus came to the tree where Zacchaeus was sitting, Jesus looked up at him and told Zacchaeus to come down out of the tree. Then he told Zacchaeus that he wanted to eat dinner with him at his house. Out of all of the people, Christ chose him.

Duke Chronicle

Duke Chronicle
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 00:26:15 -0800

But his longest completion of the night came in the third period when he found freshman Olamide Zacchaeus 50 yards down the field. Zacchaeus then used his legs to finish the play, leaving two Duke defenders in his dust as he sprinted into the end zone ...


Wed, 23 Sep 2015 14:56:15 -0700

It struck me: Zacchaeus was a suit guy, out among the people. He strained so hard to get a glimpse of Jesus that this big-wig tax collector actually scaled a tree to see him. Looking at that tree on the White House grounds, I understood Zacchaeus in a ...

Winston-Salem Journal

Winston-Salem Journal
Sat, 21 Nov 2015 20:43:16 -0800

Virginia running back Daniel Hamm (22) runs in front of Duke cornerback Breon Borders (31)on Saturday. The Cavaliers' Taquan Mizzell had five catches in the game, setting a new school record for receptions by a running back in a season. Virginia ...


Sun, 22 Nov 2015 19:45:00 -0800

So it's nice to feel appreciated," said Zacchaeus Yarber, an A1C based in Barksdale who is originally from Georgia. "I do miss my family, I'm family oriented, so to be around families, it's a good thing," said Yarber's wife. More than 100 volunteers ...

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