(J C Ryle)
“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 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. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; 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. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19: 1-10)
Let us grasp these doctrines firmly and never let them go. Their price is above rubies. Grace, free grace, is the only thought which gives men rest in a dying hour. Let us proclaim these doctrines confidently to everyone to whom we speak about spiritual things. Let us bid them come to Jesus Christ, just as they are, and not wait in the vain hope that they can make themselves fit and worthy to come. Not least, let us tell them that Jesus Christ waits for them, and would come and dwell in their poor sinful hearts, if they would only receive Him. ‘Behold,’ He says, ‘I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me’ (Rev. 3: 20).
We learn, lastly, from these verses, that converted sinners will always give evidence of their conversion. We are told that Zacchaeus ‘stood, and said unto the Lord; 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.’ There was reality in that speech. There was unmistakable proof that Zacchaeus was a new creature. When a wealthy Christian begins to distribute his riches, and an extortioner begins to make restitution, we may well believe that old things have passed away, and all things become new (II Cor. 5: 17). There was decision in that speech. ‘I give,’ says Zacchaeus – ‘I restore.’ He does not speak of future intentions. He does not say, ‘I will,’ but ‘I do.’ Freely pardoned, and raised from death to life, Zacchaeus felt that he could not begin too soon to show whose he was and whom he served.
He that desires to give proof that he is a believer, should walk in the steps of Zacchaeus. Like him, let him thoroughly renounce the sins which have formerly most easily beset him. Like him, let him follow the Christian graces which he has formerly most habitually neglected. In any case a believer should so live that all may know that he is a believer. Faith that does not purify the heart and life, is not faith at all. Grace that cannot be seen, like light – and tasted, like salt, is not grace, but hypocrisy. The man who professes to know Christ and trust Him, while he cleaves to sin and the world, is going down to hell with a lie in his right hand. The heart that has really tasted the grace of Christ, will instinctively hate sin.
Let us turn from the whole passage with the last verse ringing in our ears – ‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ It is as a Saviour, more than as a Judge, that Christ desires to be known. Let us see that we know Him as such. Let us take heed that our souls are saved. Once saved and converted, we shall say, ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?’ (Ps. 116: 12). Once saved, we shall not complain that self-denial, like that of Zacchaeus, is a grievous requirement.
(Adapted from Gracegems website)