Lessons from Zacchaeus – a Savior’s mission


In the account that records Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus (Luke 19), once Jesus, the Savior assures the gift of salvation for the sinner Zacchaeus (verse 9), he continues on to say that “the Son of man (talking about Himself) came into this world to seek and to save that which is lost”. In other word’s, Jesus verbally expresses here the Savior’s mission, which is to ensure that no one is lost (separated from God), but that all who are astray will be first sought and then saved. (2 Peter 3:9)

What a wonderful thing it is for us to realize that even those who do not seek the only God and Savior, Jesus Christ, are being sought by Him and those who are lost will be saved when they recognize His sovereignty and Lordship as Zacchaeus did (verse 8).

Now the Bible also counsels us that we ought to be imitators (mirror images) of Jesus (Ephesians 5:1), which means that the Savior’s mission which is to seek and save, should be the same mission of all of his servants (you and me who know Jesus as Lord and Savior).

The questions that remain then are this –
Are we carrying on the Savior’s mission as he would expect us to?
Are we seeking and saving those who are lost?

Luke 19:10 (KJV)
10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Ephesians 5:1 (NIV)
1
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

Lessons from Zacchaeus – Grace, Found and Blessed


When Zacchaeus the sinner¬† encounters the Savior Jesus Christ, he receives Jesus joyfully and promises to return and restore all that he had falsely and deceptively acquired. In response to Zacchaeus change of heart, Jesus makes an interesting and profound statement of assurance by saying “Today, salvation has come into this (Zacchaeus’) house and that Zaccaheus is also a son of Abraham.”

While superficially it may seem that Zacchaeus promise of works (to return and restore) is what earned him his salvation, we must be careful to not fall into the trap that our good works can earn the gift of eternal life. It is important to carefully review this encounter and understand that the recognition of Jesus as Lord by Zacchaeus (verse 8 ) is what gave Zacchaeus his salvation as a free gift. Note, how Jesus did not say, go do this and do that and then Salvation will come into your house. Zacchaeus ‘ promise to return and restore (good works) was merely a byproduct of his change of heart and opened eyes by which he saw Jesus as sovereign Lord. It is only by the grace of God and grace alone that one can be saved and not by any works.

For Zacchaeus a man of prominence (chief among the publicans) and a Jew, recognition of Jesus as Lord would mean blasphemy to the other devout and legalistic Jews, but to him it meant that he who was lost and caught up in barren foolishness (syke from where we get ‘syco’ refers to the fig tree signifying barreness – Luke 13:6 and moria from where we get ‘more’ means foolishness or folly) is now found and blessed; found to be blessed as a son of Abraham.

If today we are to meet Jesus, let us not fail to recognize Him as Lord for such a recognition makes us, who are lost in the barren foolishness of trying to work our way to salvation, to be found and blessed, and adopted as children of Abraham, the one who was promised God’s blessings and through whom the nations are blessed. Through you and me, will the nations be blessed?

P.S: This is the day (September 30), 19 years ago, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. In other words, this day (19 years ago), Salvation came into my heart and I was adopted as a child (son) of God.

Luke 19:6-10 (KJV)
6
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
7
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
8
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
9
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Lessons from Zacchaeus – Change of heart


Luke 19 records the story of Zacchaeus, the sinner who meets the Savior (Jesus Christ) and when this happens we see that a few things happened in Zacchaeus’ life.

First, Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully (verse 6).
Second, Zacchaeus recognized Jesus to be the Lord (verse 8).
Third, Zacchaeus had a change of heart and from being a man who took, took and took, he vowed to return that which he had taken; to give and to restore (verse 8).

When the sinner who has no hope but the sure overhanging penalty of death, encounters Jesus Christ as a Savior, the natural response that is evoked is one of joy and rejoicing. Jesus is the only one who can turn your day of sorrow into a day of joy (John 16:20).  And when the sinner sees Jesus seeing Him and seeking to be part of his life, a change of heart should occur in which the Lordship of Jesus is recognized and the old is gone and a new creation ensues that vows to give Jesus to those in need and restore their relationships with God the Father.

When a sinner meets the Savior, there is Rejoicing, Recognition, Returning and Restoring. Have you had that encounter?

Luke 19:6-8 (KJV)
6
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
7
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
8
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Lessons from Zacchaeus – Seek to see and be seen


Luke 19 records the true story of a short statured, rich and sinful tax collector named Zacchaeus who ran ahead and climbed up a Sycomore tree (IRS guy up the tree) so that he could see Jesus. When Jesus passed by, He told Zacchaeus to come down, to come down quickly (in haste) for Jesus said that he must abide in Zacchaeus’ home.

Some of us may be familiar with this account, but by a mere cursorial review of the story, one may miss out certain hidden truths, the first of which is that Zacchaeus sought the Lord for he was unsatisfied of just hearing about Jesus, He wanted to see Jesus face to face. How many of us have heard of Jesus, but do we really take the time and effort to rise up to see Him?

Secondly, the account records that Jesus beheld (saw) Zacchaeus and asked to be taken into his home (his life in a manner of speaking). When we take the first step to see Jesus, you can be assured that He will see you first and seek to come into your life, changing it accordingly to what God expects of you. Note how Jesus says that He must go into the house of Zacchaeus. The request from Jesus to all today is the same – He must come into our lives.

Thirdly, the account states that Zacchaeus ran ahead (prepared) and climbed the Sycomore tree. Jesus asks him to have the same sense of urgency (saying make haste) to come down from the tree so that Zacchaeus could take Jesus into his home. Are we preparing ourselves to see Jesus and when we encounter Him, let our fervency to connect with Him be equally urgent (in haste).

If you have heard of Jesus but have never seen Him as Savior, take the time and effort to seek to see Him and you can be sure of one thing, Jesus will see (behold) you and seek to come into your life, changing it for good, once and for all. Seek to see and be seen!

Luke 19:1-6 (KJV)
1
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
2
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
3
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
4
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
5
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
6
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.