"And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich." Luke 19:1-2
In Luke nineteen we read the story of a man named Zaccheus, who was a publican. Now, the publicans were tax collectors, and most of them were crooks; and it is doubtless that Zacchaeus was one of these crooks. But Zacchaeus sought to see Jesus as He passed through his town. Because he was a small fellow and could not see over the crowd, Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a tree in order to see Jesus. When Jesus passed by, He looked up and saw Zacchaeus and said to him, "…Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house" (verse 5). And Zacchaeus came down and said, "...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). Jesus said to him, "...This day is salvation come to this house.... For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (verses 9-10).
Zacchaeus Meets Jesus
Now, Zacchaeus doubtless thought that he was not very important to anyone except to himself, and he was out for number one. But he was very interested in this man named Jesus, and he was in for the surprise of his life. I'm certain that three thoughts jumped into the mind of Zacchaeus as Jesus spoke to him in verse five:
• "He sees me." Jesus looked up into the tree.
• "He knows me." He called Zacchaeus by name.
• "He wants me." Jesus asked to go to his house.
Did you know you are very important to God? Let that sink into your heart. The Lord sees you. He really sees you. He knows all about you, and He wants you. Have you ever thought about the fact that He loves us one by one? Even the very hairs of our head are numbered.
There's no need to be out on a limb without Him. Zacchaeus was out on a limb, but oh, thank God, Zacchaeus found Jesus, but only because Jesus found Zacchaeus.
The Faith of Zacchaeus
Now, how did Zacchaeus come to know the Lord? I want you to notice his faith.
He had an intelligent faith. Verse three says Zacchaeus "sought to see Jesus Who He was." Zacchaeus wanted the truth about this man Jesus. It's not enough for you to have a passing relationship with Jesus; you need to see Who Jesus Christ really is.
He had an experiential faith. Being a Christian is not just intellectually believing things about the Lord; it is receiving the Lord. You are not saved by the plan of salvation, you are saved by the Man of salvation; and His name is Jesus. Zacchaeus knew more than facts about Jesus, Jesus went home with him.
He had a transforming faith. When a man like Zacchaeus starts talking about giving away his money (verse 8), perk up your ears because something has happened! This doesn't sound like Zacchaeus; it sounds like Jesus. His life was changed. No longer was Zacchaeus a money grabbling, penny pinching, dishonest, crooked skin flint.
The Grace of God
He had been transformed by the grace of God. Do you know the grace of God? It is a saving grace. Zacchaeus was saved not from hell, he was saved from his sin. The Bible says in Matthew 1:21, "...thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins."
It is a sustaining grace. The Scripture says that Jesus went home with Zacchaeus. That is illustrative of the fact that Jesus Christ abides within our hearts.
Finally, it is surviving grace. Jesus is able to keep Zacchaeus, and we will someday see him in heaven.
That same grace is available to you. When Jesus Christ comes into your life; He will save you, abide with you, and keep you for eternity.
Friend, let me tell you something: if you're out on a limb without Him, one of these days, the devil is going to cut that limb off from behind you, and you're going to find yourself under the sod without God — lost — forever lost.
But you are important to God. He sees you, knows you, and wants you. You don't have to stay out on a limb without Him.