The story of Zacchaeus, we’ll call him Zack, is found in Luke 19:1-10. Here was a man who was a tax collector. But not only was Zack a tax collector in his profession, he also took above and beyond the amount of money that he was supposed to; he was adding on extra charges and keeping it for himself. So needless to say that Zack was not a very liked man.
Well Zack heard about a man who came to town named Jesus and he wanted to know who this man was. A large crowd had gathered but Zack was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd so he climbed up a tree. Along comes Jesus who was walking through the crowd and he stops right when he gets to the tree where Zack was hanging out and he looks up at him and says, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today (Luke 19:5 NIV).”
I can imagine that Zack was pretty excited at this point. After all, the man that he was trying to see had noticed him; but not only that, Jesus was going to come to HIS house! And like any other juicy story, the murmuring began. The other people in the crowd began to talk and they just couldn’t believe that this Jesus would go to the house of a “sinner.” Zack knew what the people were saying and he knew that people didn’t like him so he stood up and proclaimed to Jesus, “Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times that amount (Luke 19:8 NIV).” He felt guilty and overwhelmed all at the same time.
Zack knew he had done something wrong, he knew it was wrong to charge over on the taxes, and he was overwhelmed that Jesus was at HIS house. Zack felt special and perhaps for the first time in his life someone had noticed him. Jesus didn’t refuse to see Zacchaeus because he knew that he was not charging people properly, and he didn’t listen to what the others in the crowd were saying. Jesus saw Zacchaeus, for who he was on the inside, not what others saw. When Zack stood up and confessed that he would repay those he wronged and give half of his possessions to the poor Jesus knew that Zack had changed. That is why Jesus replies to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house… For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:9a, and 10 NIV).”
Zack was lost. He was going through life making a good living for himself, yes he made some enemies along the way but things were going okay for him. But Zack had a heart problem and Jesus knew it. Zack knew he had a heart problem the moment Jesus laid eyes on him and the crowd began to talk about him. All of a sudden all those things that Zack did came flooding into his mind and he knew that he had to do something about it. So what did Zack do? He turned his eyes to Jesus.
Perhaps you too have a heart problem. Perhaps like Zack you feel as if no one sees you, at least not for who you are on the inside. Like Zack, you need to turn your eyes to Jesus. And like Zack, salvation can come into your house today. Romans 5:8 (NIV) says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died for all, not just a select few. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NIV).” Allow Jesus to look into your life today and change it. Turn your eyes to Jesus so that salvation will come into your home.
Lt. Chansey Johnson is a Corps Officer with The Salvation Army of Logan, Boone, and Mingo counties. and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.