Sunday, April 1, 2012

Luke Part 60: Zaccheus

Text: Luke 19:1-10

This section is a continuation of what we have seen previously in Luke.  Jesus is traveling on the way to Jerusalem.  He goes through Jericho.  This is sort of unusual; it seems like it is out of the way.  Why is Jesus doing this?  God has chosen a man whom He would save.

Zaccheus, we’re told in verse 3, wants to see Jesus.  Why should he want to see Jesus?  He is rich!  He has all his needs met; he has a comfortable life representing the Roman government.  Why did he want to see Jesus?  Apparently, the Spirit was working within him.

The story of Zaccheus is a picture of the salvation of any man.  Zaccheus is a picture of repentance and faith – there is no salvation without repentance.  He is a sinful man, but he joyfully receives the Savior.  He has been changed!

Previously, we have seen Jesus tell His disciples that it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  But right here we see that the impossible is possible with God!

Zaccheus bears witness of the signs that always follow a true work of God: a joyful acceptance of the Word, a true repentance of love, not law.  Zaccheus wanted to repay fourfold anyone whom he had cheated.  That is far in excess of what the Law demanded.  Zaccheus was led by the Spirit go far above and beyond the rule.

Jesus said, in verse 9, that this man was “a son of Abraham” and that was the reason for his salvation.  What does this mean?  It does not mean simply that Zaccheus was a Jew.  It means that he was a person who was following in the faith of Abraham.  The Son of Man, the promised Seed of Abraham, is here and He has come to seek and to save the lost.

Compare this account of Zaccheus with Bartimaeus – two extremes are represented.  God can bring in the poorest of the poor, and can also save the richest, most self-sufficient man.  All come the same way – through Jesus.

In the coming sections, we will look at Galatians, and have some further discussion on how those of faith are truly the children of Abraham.