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THE CONVERSION OF ZACCHAEUS

 

“THE LITTLE MAN IN THE SYCAMORE TREE”

 

BIBLE TEXT – READ (LUKE 19:1-10)

 

 

This portion of the Word of God (the Bible) tells the story of a man named Zacchaeus and his meeting with the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are at least seven key points in this story that I would like to focus on and bring to your attention.

 

By way of outline we have the following: 

 

1.      (Verse 1) – The Route of The Saviour

2.      (Verse 2) – The Riches of Zacchaeus

3.      (Verses 3,4,5) – The Revelation of The Saviour

4.      (Verse 6) – The Reception of The Saviour

5.      (Verse 7) – The Reputation of Zacchaeus

6.      (Verse 8) – The Repentance of Zacchaeus

7.      (Verses 9,10) – The Redemption of Zacchaeus

 

 We will briefly consider each of these topics as we comment on this scripture portion of God’s Word.

 

1)      THE ROUTE OF THE SAVIOUR (VERSE 1)

 

Verse 1 says that “Jesus entered and passed through Jericho”.  We are told back in the Old Testament, in the book of Joshua 6:26, that Jericho was a city under the curse of God.  Jesus entered and passed through this city even though it was under the curse of God.  This is exactly what occurred when He came into this world.  You see, this world is under the curse and judgment of God.  It says in (Acts 17:31) that God “hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained (the Lord Jesus Christ) whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead”.  This world is waiting the judgment of God, never-the-less, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).  He came, and He came for a purpose, “to save sinners”.  Friend, let me ask you, are YOU saved?  Have you ever taken the sinner’s place? Will you escape the impending judgment of God?

 

2)      THE RICHES OF ZACCHAEUS (VERSE 2)

 

It says in (verse 2) concerning Zacchaeus that he was “the chief among the publicans (tax collectors) and he was rich”. Zacchaeus was a prestigious man and he was a wealthy man.  There are many in the world like this today.  Because of this there is the tendency to feel self-sufficient and to be preoccupied with the accumulation of even more wealth.  The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also” (Luke 12:34).  “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).  The church age in which we are living is described in the book of Revelation 3:14-22.  The Lord’s condemnation, among other things, is noted by His words  (Revelation 3:17) “thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”.  Here we see the danger of being rich in a material way yet not being “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).  (Mark 8:36, 37) – “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? My dear reader, is this descriptive of you?

 

3)      THE REVELATION OF THE SAVIOUR (VERSES 3,4 and 5)

 

Verses 3, 4 and 5 of our scripture text tell how Zacchaeus met the Saviour.  It says “he sought to see Jesus who He was” - - “he ran before and climbed up into a Sycamore tree to see Him”.  “When Jesus came to the place - - - He “said unto him, Zacchaeus - - come down”, etc.  The Lord knew his name because He called Zacchaeus by his name.  The Lord knows each one of us by our name.  Have you ever met the Saviour?  You probably have heard His Name, Jesus Christ.  You probably have heard that He died on the cross about two thousand years ago.  The important question is have you personally met the Saviour?  Has He been revealed to you?  Do you know Him as your Lord and Saviour?  (John 17:3) “This is life eternal, that they might KNOW THEE the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”. 

 

4)      THE RECEPTION OF THE SAVIOUR (VERSE 6)

 

Verse 6 of our scripture text says of Zacchaeus regarding the Saviour “he - - - received Him joyfully”.  Have you ever received the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life?  It says of the Lord Jesus Christ, (John 1:10-12) “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world KNEW HIM NOT.  He came unto His own (the Jews) and His own RECEIVED HIM NOT”.  But as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them gave He power (the right or privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name”.  We learn from these verses that when a person truly receives the Lord Jesus Christ they will be saved and become a child of God.  If you have never received Him by a definite act of faith then you have rejected Him. This is most serious indeed.  It says in (John 12:48) “HE THAT REJECTETH ME and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”.  God will bring into judgment all that reject His Son and the basis or standard of that judgment will be The Word of God. 

 

5)      THE REPUTATION OF ZACCHAEUS (VERSE 7)

 

In verse 7 of our scripture text, it says of Zacchaeus, that he was “a man that is a sinner”.  My friend, let me ask you - - “do you believe that you are a sinner”?  Following are a few scriptures that tell us what God says about this issue;

 

  • (Romans 3:10) “There is none righteous no not one”. 
  • (Romans 3:23) “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.
  • (Romans 3:9) “- - both Jews and Gentiles, they are all under sin”.
  • (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.
  • (Romans 6:23) “the wages of sin is death”

 

From these scriptures (and many others in the Bible) we learn that we are all sinners in the sight of a Holy God.  We learn also, that we are sinners by nature (Romans 5:12) and sinners by practice (Romans 3:23).  Finally, we learn that sin has a consequence which is death.  The Bible teaches that death is in three aspects;

 

  • Spiritual  Death – The sinner is said to be (Ephesians 2:1) “dead in trespasses and sins” and (2:5) “dead in sins”. If you’re not saved, God’s Word says you are “dead in sins”.  Spiritual death is the separation of the unbeliever from God. 

 

  • Physical  Death(Hebrews 9:27) “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”.  The experiences of life have confirmed the truthfulness of this scripture.  We have known others who have kept this appointment.  We must keep it also.  Physical death is the separation of the spirit or soul from the body.  See (James 2:26)

 

  • The Second Death – This is spoken of four times in the Bible, all in the Book of Revelation. (Revelation 20:14 and 21:8) make it clear that the “second death” is the portion of all who die in their sins, who are unsaved and have never been “born again”. The “second death” is the separation of the person from God for all eternity. Eternal punishment in the “lake of fire” is the “second death”.

 

6)      THE REPENTANCE OF ZACCHAEUS (VERSE 8)

 

In verse 8 of Luke, chapter 19, Zacchaeus makes confession of his sins to the Saviour. The present tense of this verse indicates that for the first time he acknowledged his greed and extortion and promised to make restitution. Yes, he was a sinner. He had indeed, earned his reputation as we noted in verse 7. The words of his confession were prompted by repentance in his heart. Repentance, in the Biblical sense, means “a change of mind”. We might add further, it is “a change of mind as to who will rule over us”. It is a decision of our will that Jesus Christ will be our Lord, God shall rein over us, and self and Satan will be deposed. God has placed repentance at the threshold of the door of salvation and there it must remain if sinners are to be truly saved. Following are some scripture verses that will explain why this is so;

 

  • (Luke 13:3,5) – The Lord Jesus Christ said twice “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”.
  • (Acts 17:30) – “God --- now commandeth all men everywhere to repent”. Notice, there are no exceptions, no exclusions, it is “all men everywhere”.
  • (Acts 20:21) – None can be saved unless there is “ repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”.

 

My friend, let me ask you, “Are you saved”? Has there ever been a time in your life when you repented of your sins and put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ?

 

7)      THE REDEEMPTION OF ZACCHAEUS (VERSES 9 and 10)

 

In verse 9 of our text, Jesus said to Zacchaeus , “This day is salvation come to this house”. Has salvation ever come to your house? You need to be saved. You can be saved. Zacchaeus was a sinful man. He became a saved man because he received the Lord Jesus Christ. Note (verse 10) of our text, “ – the Son of man (the Lord Jesus Christ) is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. He came from heaven, His eternal dwelling place. He came to Bethlehem, the place of His incarnation where the Son of God became the Son of man. He came into the world to save lost sinners. Ultimately, He came to Calvary where He laid down His life for you and for me. The “lost” in this verse is a descriptive term for all men, for the collective whole of mankind. This verse also tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ is “seeking” the lost. He is seeking you my friend if you have never been saved. The following scripture verses will verify this;

 

  • (Matthew 11:28) – The Lord Jesus offers this most gracious invitation – “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Will you come to Him by faith and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour? Only those who feel the burden of their sins will come for salvation. Zacchaeus did come to the Lord. Remember the Lord said to him in (verse 5) of our text, “Zacchaeus, --- come”.
  • (Revelation 3:20) – The Lord Jesus said (speaking to the church of the Laodiceans which represents the professing church in its last condition on Earth before the Lord comes back) “Behold I stand at the door and knock,  if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me”. The Word of God declares, that in these last days, the Lord Jesus is on the outside, outside the door. Dear reader, will you invite Him in? Will you “open the door of your heart and life” and invite Him to come in and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour? Have you any room for Jesus? The hymn writer had this subject on his heart when he wrote these words;

 

Have you any room for Jesus, He who bore your load of sin.

As he knocks and asks admission, Sinner, will you let Him in?

Room for pleasure, room for business, but for Christ the crucified,

Not a place that He can enter, in the heart for which He died.

 

The story of Zacchaeus (The Little Man in the Sycamore Tree) is the story of a seeking Saviour who met a seeking sinner and salvation was the result. It will always be so for He said (John 6:37) “him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. He is seeking you my friend. Will you seek Him? Will you, in simple faith,  come to Him? 

 

Please give this matter your most serious attention. Will you be a believer or a nonbeliever? Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.

 

 

Christian Messenger