Christ Seeks, Christ Saves (Luke 19:1-10)
Zaccheus was a chief tax collector, which means he was something like a tax cartel kingpin. He would have been notoriously corrupt and known as a traitor, a swindler, and a cheat, accepting bribes from the rich and demanding extra from the poor who could not afford to offer bribes. Zaccheus had undoubtedly heard reports about Jesus, and the curiosity had gotten to him. He ran ahead of the crowds and climbed a tree to position himself to be able to see Jesus—even though both running and climbing would have been undignified, unusual and socially unacceptable for the wealthy. But it was then that the One everyone was talking about approached him, took notice of him, called him by name, came to his home, dined with him and conversed with him. Jesus was violating the Pharisees’ tradition: “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner” (v. 7). But they had failed to realize that Jesus came to save corrupt, swindling sinners.
Saved and Serving
When Zaccheus saw Christ, he realized both that he was lost, and also that he was loved by God. God had sought him out, found him, saved him, and accepted Him. What Zaccheus had been searching for for years was found in his acceptance with God. He had wrongly assumed that wealth and authority would satisfy in the way that only reconciliation to God could. Upon his conversion he confessed his sinful practices and promised to make restitution; he was determined to right all wrongs. Such a change is inevitable in the life of a person that’s been converted. To profess Christ and then continue behaving the same way as before is a contradiction. When we compare Zaccheus’ example to the example of praying Pharisee whom Luke describes in the preceding chapter, we’re reminded that a saved cheater is far more generous than the self-righteous Pharisee. In true repentance, Zaccheus’ sought to pay back even more than the law required.
The salvation that came to Zacheus’ that day was unmerited, unsolicited, and unimagined. The same is true for each of us. The door of hope for sinners is propped wide open today as the gospel is offered to the most undeserving of sinners. There is no incurable case for the gospel! Any sinner may be healed, if you only come to Christ!
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10
- Is there anything that keeps you from coming to Jesus Christ in faith and repentance? What does this account teach you about Christ’s willingness to save you?
- Is there evidence in your life that you’ve experienced the same kind of change that Zaccheus’ did? Have you been changed by seeing and trusting in Jesus? In what ways?