Zacchaeus: A Story of How to Get Saved

Dr Peter Enns is an American biblical scholar and theologian. Here he tells the Bible story of Zacchaeus and how he was saved. I notice how different this gospel message of salvation is from the gospel Paul preached. Muslims would go with Jesus on this. Christians would follow Paul’s gospel. Ironic.



Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Jesus

8 replies

  1. I agree with the call to repentance but this writer is not careful enough with his context and exegesis.

    > Without Jesus even needing to say a word, Zacchaeus commits to giving half his possessions to the poor and paying back fourfold anyone he has defrauded.

    Not exactly. Jesus has just been speaking about the rich giving up their possessions to follow him.

    Luk 18:18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
    Luk 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
    Luk 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”
    Luk 18:21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
    Luk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
    Luk 18:23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
    Luk 18:24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
    Luk 18:25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
    Luk 18:26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
    Luk 18:27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
    Luk 18:28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
    Luk 18:29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God
    Luk 18:30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

    This is the immediate context and It seems that Zacchaeus knows and is responding to Jesus’ message.

    > Zacchaeus’s salvation is his committing to a change in life – from greed and dishonesty to generosity and justice. He is repenting.

    Zacchaeus is the example what is “impossible with men”. He is rich yet leaves it all. His action is not just to be generous and just but to follow Jesus to Jerusalem and be part of his mission that Jesus is bringing. To know what this mission is continue reading the gospel.


  2. The Christian attitude to this fact can be summed up like this:

    “Ayyy… I can, just like Zacchaeus, get saved without that whole messy human sacrifice, God dying and the innocent being punished instead of the wicked baggage.

    But I’d rather that Jesus die an excruciating and slow death on the cross…cause I love him”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The sacrifice of Jesus can still be a condition of forgiveness even before the event actually occurs. In the mind of God it was a fact that is certain even though it was a future event before it actually happened in time. All events are foreordained before they occur anyway.

    The protoevangelium shows this:

    King James Bible
    And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


    • Talk about squaring the circle.


    • ” In the mind of God it was a fact that is certain even though it was a future event before it actually happened in time. All events are foreordained before they occur anyway.”

      so we have your god do the following

      continuous begetting
      and pouring of sins from all years on/in jesus

      your god had thoughts of pouring all sins from all years on jesus continuously , why did he even reveal the ritualistic book of leviticus?

      all that ritualism and nitty gritty only to have it replaced by pouring all sins on a pagan man god?

      this same god also knew how he would punish in the depths of hell and since no human had any resources to get out of divine punishment like pagan man god did, then he knew humans would get it worse than jesus.


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