Episode 025 – Zacchaeus Pt 1: Climb a Tree

Key Passage(s): Luke 19:1-4

We’re kicking off a series on Zacchaeus from Luke 19 where over the course of several weeks, we’re going to look at this story from a number of different angles. In this particular teaching, we look at Zacchaeus’ desire to change and what he had to overcome in order to have an encounter with Jesus. It’s going to be quite a ride as this electric story is about so much more than just a wee little man.

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • How have you traditionally understood the Zacchaeus story?
  • Where do you long to have change in your life? Is it something you desire to become better at? Is it something that needs to go from your life?
  • What’s keeping you from pursuing this change? Shame? Fear? Not knowing where to begin?
  • Like Zacchaeus, how can you put yourself in a position to encounter the desired change – i.e. What tree do you need to climb?
  • How will you begin walking this out over this next week?

For Further Study


    • Gregory,
      God wants you to drink deeper into His word.
      God will bless you with the strength to not only slow down but put a complete stop to drinking from the cup that the devil is giving you.

      Father God, Gregory has this desire,SoLord help him to see that only Your living water is what he should be drinking. Bless him with true friends that will hold him into accountable action. Put him on the potters wheel and reshape him into a true vessel to become useful in Your Kingdom. Amen

    • Gregory, I’m so glad you reached out. With this problem, it’s important to journey with others. I have been involved with Celebrate Recovery for many years. It’s a Christ centered 12 step program for all sorts of hurts and habits. There are thousands of local groups. Search online for Celebrate Recovery and click on Group locator. Warm regards.

    • Greg, I don’t know what the depth of your drinking entales, my son Eric is at a facility right now for a month to stop drinking. No one sets out with a goal in life to have a problem with drinking I will pray for you to have the love & support & understanding to learn what you can do to set alcohol away from your life. The beauty of God is he climbs those mountains with us if we allow Him too. May the Lord bless you & keep you, may His face shine upon you & be gracious to you, may His counteness be upon you & give you HIS peace. Amen

  1. Thank you Brad,
    I know I’m going to enjoy this series. I haven’t been a follower of Jesus the Christ for very long but there’s something inside of me saying the Bible has so much more to say and teach us lying beneath the scriptures.


  2. Brad,
    Thank you for once again taking a story from the word and digging deeper into it. Can’t wait to walk along side of you while you point out the many things that I have over looked for years.
    Now its time for me to climb up and know that no matter what excuses I have used God loves me, for God desires for me to seek Him more.

  3. Brad,
    After hearing this teaching and reflecting on the past year, I think that this was what I was doing on the Israel trip last May. Here is a question for you. Do you think Jesus acceptance of Matthew as his disciple was something that Zaccheus would have known and could that have influenced him to seek Jesus out as the source of the change he was seeking?

  4. Where do you long to have change in your life?
    Career, finances, and marriage.
    What’s keeping you from pursuing this change? Not knowing where to begin!
    Thanks for this series. Looking forward to the weeks ahead.

  5. Wow almost 20 minutes and it felt like 5. Wrote so much in my Bible on just 4 verses. Not sure where I will write next week! Fabulous and as always I bless God and you.

  6. Brad I have a question the more I thought about your explanation of Zaccheus not be small in size but more about being an outcast and being pushed back in the crowd. If he was the chief tax collector would not that have been a bad idea for the people in town paying the taxes to treat him so poorly? Would they be concerned he would tax them more if he was “pushed” to the back?

  7. Brad, thank you for going in depth on this story. I would have missed all the important things Luke was trying to tell us by simply reading “run” and “climbed a tree” and not thinking anything significant about it.

  8. Brad, great teaching. After last year’s IBC conference I read Luke repeatedly and noticed a theme in chapters 18 & 19. Jesus encounters and elevates different marginalized people. Your teaching helped me tie in the rich observation of Zacchaeus passionate heart desire to connect with Jesus (this is a consistent theme in the other stories in 18 & 19). Thank you for the encouraging words.

  9. Well, that will hit you right in the feels. Didn’t realize the Holy Spirit was bald. Thanks, Brad for revealing more truth. I have to go now and find my tree so I can encounter Jesus more intimately.

  10. I find no reference in Kittels or others to the Greek meaning short of social status. It actually seems to me that had Luke omitted the phrase ‘of stature’ that your case for him being considered ‘least’ socially would be stronger (“he who is least in the kingdom is greater than he”). Luke adding ‘of age/stature’ seems to me to eliminate the option of lesser social status. And does the traditional view diminish any of the other beautiful and challenging points that you brought forth? Wonderful teaching. Thanks for helping me ‘see’ more clearly!

    • Hi Eric, thank you for your comments. Gary M. Burge, a brilliant New Testament scholar, discusses the usage of this Greek word in his book “Encounters With Jesus.” And I don’t think the traditional view diminishes anything. I just think there may be more to Zacchaeus being “short,” and I unpack that in upcoming episodes 🙂

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