“Today salvation has come to this house. . . . For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:9-10
The story of Zacchaeus beautifully captures the message of the gospel and the transforming power of God’s grace. Zacchaeus wasn’t a popular person at all. As a chief tax collector, his job was to gather taxes for the Roman government. This profession was notorious for corruption. Not only was he a man of great wealth based on the job he had, but he may well have been lonely—generally rejected by his own people.
Zacchaeus was small in stature as well as being small in character. But he wanted to see Jesus, so he climbed a tree to see over the crowd. As Jesus approached, he picked out Zacchaeus and invited himself to the man’s home. Certainly this would have upset the townspeople, but Jesus saw something in Zacchaeus that only God can see in a person. He saw the man he could be. And Zacchaeus’s transformation was dramatic. His salvation came not because he returned a large part of his riches, but because he received the grace and mercy of Jesus—and it changed the way he lived. His transformation was public and personal and urgently important.
From sinner to seeker to follower, Zacchaeus became an example of the change that takes place in our lives because of Christ. Yes, the same happens in our lives too, because a change of heart leads to a change of character and behavior.
Thank you, Jesus, for your transforming grace and mercy. Change us from the inside out so that our words and actions rightly reflect your ongoing work in our lives. Amen.