The Tomb of Zacchaeus
Exploring the Tomb of Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector
Location - Jericho
Map Coordinates - 31.8533101,35.4473338
Merged Gospels story - 211
Zacchaeus was the tax collector in Jericho who climbed a tree to see Jesus, who then hosted the Savior in his home (Luke 19:1-10). Visitors to this remote site can not only see the scant remains of Zacchaeus’ tomb, but also the physical remains of his family.
The Biblical Story.
The Merged Gospels, Story 211 says
“And having entered, He was passing through Jericho. And behold, there was a man whose name was called Zacchaeus, and he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he was trying to see Who Jesus was, and because of the crowd he was not able, because he was small in stature. And running forward ahead of them, he climbed on a sycamore tree, that he might see Him, because He was about to pass by that way. And as Jesus came up to the place, looking up he saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, quickly come down, for I must stay today in your house.” And He quickly came down, and received Him, rejoicing. And seeing it, they were all murmuring, saying, “He went in to lodge with a sinner!” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor. And if I took anything from anyone by false accusation, I give it back fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation came to this house, inasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Zacchaeus’ tomb is located in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Saint Andrew in Jericho, christened by a fourth-century deacon (also named Andrew), who was the first to declare this site to be not just the tomb, but the ancient home of Zacchaeus. However, the ruins containing the remains of Zacchaeus are clearly the ruins of a tomb.
As the tradition goes, not only was Zacchaeus’ family tomb identified in the fourth century, but the remains of the family were also discovered. In the back of the church, one can peer down into a hole where a glass-topped box of human bones is kept on display, surrounded by decades of prayers, left there presumably by Egyptian visitors.
Not far away from this church is the Monastery of Saint Elisha, where visitors can see the dead trunk of the Sycamore tree onto which is believed that Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus.