“And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.””
Luke 19:9-10 ESV
Through the Bible: Luke 19
Luke 19:9 can be challenging for anyone who holds that salvation is by grace alone through faith, and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). It sure looks like Jesus made this statement about salvation coming to Zacchaeus’s house because Zacchaeus vowed to give half his goods to the poor and to pay back anyone he had cheated (v 8). What’s up with this?
You’ve probably been singing about Zacchaeus, the “wee little man“ ever since VBS (although today, “wee little man” would not be politically correct. We would say “vertically challenged”). We know that he would have been hated by his neighbors for being a tax collector. His statement about “if I have cheated anybody I will pay them back four times the amount” probably had the whole town lined up at his door the next morning.
The name Zacchaeus means “pure one.” I would imagine he got picked on for this when he was a kid. It didn’t help that he was short. Can you imagine the kids at Jericho Junior High? “Oh, here comes Little Pure One!”
We can assume that his short stature wasn’t the only thing that had him climbing up in a tree to see Jesus instead of being part of the crowd. Zacchaeus wasn’t welcome in crowds.
Jesus stopped at the foot of Zacchaeus’s sycamore and called him by name. “Pure one, come down. I must stay at your house today.” In Jesus’ mouth, Zacchaeus’s name didn’t sound like an insult. It sounded like a declaration.
Zacchaeus comes down and receives Jesus joyfully. And this, this is the moment in which salvation comes to his house. Salvation is a person, and His name is Jesus. Salvation wasn’t the result of Zacchaeus promising to give half his money to the poor. Salvation came to his house because Jesus came to his house. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and Jesus sought out this lost man hiding in the branches of a sycamore tree.
Salvation came to Zacchaeus because Jesus looked past the crowd and called him by name. Zacchaeus received him joyfully, and the Little Pure One became truly pure. Salvation is a person, and He must come to your house today, as well. Receive Him.