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Salvation

Jesus says that today is salvation day. Imagine hearing those words from the Master Jesus. You would have to pick me up off the floor.

But wait … that is what Jesus says to me. It is stunning news. I am saved and Jesus is the one who has done it. Jesus has looked and searched for me. He sought me out. He has restored me to God’s good graces.

When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”

Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”

Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.” | Luke 19:5-10

A seeking man became found. Zacchaeus thought he was seeking Jesus, but Jesus was seeking him! By nature, the lost sinner does not seek the Savior. When our first parents sinned, they hid from God, but God came and sought them. When Jesus was ministering on earth, He sought out the lost; and today the Holy Spirit, through the church, is searching for lost sinners.

We do not know how God had worked in the heart of Zacchaeus to prepare him for this meeting with Jesus. Was Levi, the former publican, one of his friends? Had he told Zacchaeus about Jesus? Was he praying for Zacchaeus? Had Zacchaeus become weary of wealth and started yearning for something better? We cannot answer these questions, but we can rejoice that a seeking Savior will always find a sinner who is looking for a new beginning.

A small man became big. It was not Zacchaeus’ fault that he was “little of stature” and could not see over the crowd. He did what he could to overcome his handicap by putting aside his dignity and climbing a tree. In a spiritual sense, all of us are “little of stature,” for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. No one measures up to God’s high standards; we are all “too little” to enter into heaven.

The tragedy is, many lost sinners think they are “big.” They measure themselves by man’s standards — money, position, authority, popularity — things that are an “abomination in the sight of God”. They think they have everything when really they have nothing.

Zacchaeus trusted Jesus the Messiah and became a true “son of Abraham,” meaning, of course, a child of faith. That is as big as you can get!

A poor man became rich. The people thought Zacchaeus was a wealthy man, but actually he was only a bankrupt sinner who needed to receive God’s gift of eternal life, the most expensive gift in the world. This is the only instance in the four Gospels of Jesus inviting Himself to someone’s home.

Zaccheus was not saved because he promised to do good works. He was saved because he responded by faith to the Messiah’s gracious word to him. Having trusted Jesus, he then gave evidence of his faith by promising to make restitution to those he had wronged. Saving faith is more than pious words and devout feelings. It creates a living union with God that results in a changed life.

Under the Mosaic Law, if a thief voluntarily confessed his crime, he had to restore what he took, add one fifth to it, and bring a trespass offering to the Master. If he stole something he could not restore, he had to repay fourfold; and if he was caught with the goods, he had to repay double. Zacchaeus did not quibble over the terms of the Law; he offered to pay the highest price because his heart had truly been changed.

The child of God is born rich, for he shares “every spiritual blessing” in Jesus the Messiah. We have the riches of God’s mercy and grace as well as the riches of His glory and wisdom. These are “unsearchable riches” that can never be fully understood or completely exhausted.

The host became the guest. Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house, and Zacchaeus received Him joyfully. Joy is one of the key themes in the Gospel of Luke, and the word is found over twenty times in one form or another. The experience of salvation certainly ought to produce joy in the believer’s heart.

Zacchaeus became the guest in his own house, for Jesus was now his Master. He was ready to obey the Master and do whatever was necessary to establish a genuine testimony before the people. To be sure, the people criticized Jesus for visiting in a publican’s house, but Jesus paid no attention to their words. The critics also needed to be saved, but there is no evidence that they trusted Jesus.

When a day begins, you never know how it will end. For Zacchaeus, that day ended in joyful fellowship with the Son of God, for he was now a changed man with a new life. Jesus is still seeking the lost and yearning to save them. Has He found you?

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