A Wee Crook with a Large Sin Debt

Monday, August 29, 2011

“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. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luke 19:5-7 KJV).

As Luke chapter 19 opens, the Lord Jesus is passing through Jericho, just north of the Dead Sea. The chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, a short man who cannot see over the crowds, has climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus (verses 3 and 4). Once Jesus calls Zacchaeus to make room for Him in his home, the crowds complain, “Jesus seeks to be a guest in that crook’s house!”

Jesus, being God in the flesh, knows Zacchaeus is the chief publican, the most dishonest tax collector. Of all places, why has Christ chosen to visit a thief’s home? He knows Zacchaeus is genuinely repentant. Zacchaeus confesses, “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” (verse 8). Lord, whatever money I stole, I will restore it four times over!

The Lord Jesus explains why He went to Zacchaeus’ home: “This day is salvation come to this [Zacchaeus’] house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (verses 9 and 10). “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Jesus went because wicked Zacchaeus, like every other Jew, needs salvation!

Christ came to “save His people [Israel] from their sins,” and that included Zacchaeus (Matthew 1:21; cf. Matthew 10:6; Matthew 18:11). Zacchaeus had been a crooked son of Abraham, but now that he trusted in Jesus as His Messiah, he was a righteous son of God (John 1:12)!

So, God can save anyone, even wee crooks with large sin debts….