Meet the New Zacchaeus 

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Today in some Orthodox Churches the Gospel lesson about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) is read. Orthodox theologian Stanley Harakas comments on the pericope.  

Zacchaeus was a new person! A person no longer distorted by sin. A person who was once again whole. The New Testament Greek word for salvation is soteria. The root of this word is soos which means whole or complete. Salvation is wholeness that comes from a complete relationship with God, with neighbor, and with oneself. It requires the right orientation to life. To be saved is to have our humanity, as created in God’s image and likeness, restored. This is one aspect of salvation, and that’s what happened to Zacchaeus, the sinner. 

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Zacchaeus was now clear on the real values of life. Jesus put it definitively in verse 9: ‘Today salvation has come to this house.‘ Zacchaeus was no longer spiritually and morally exiled from the people of God, whether they wanted to recognize it or not… ‘since he also is a son of Abraham.’ He sought out Christ, who welcomed him. He responded to Jesus’ acceptance of him with acts that reflected his new relationship with God. This new relationship with God created a new relationship with his neighbors against whom he had sinned in the past. Jesus was no longer a stranger to Zacchaeus. Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ home, sat down at his dining room table, and ate with Zacchaeus and his fellow tax collectors. It was a new relationship! Zacchaeus had changed! He was a new man!  (OF LIFE AND SALVATION, p 41) 

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“... we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10) 

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