Luke 19 v 9. “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too, is a son of Abraham.”
In this account Luke tells us that Zaccheus was a rich man who was also saved. So, on the one hand the rich ruler returns from Jesus with nothing, but Zaccheus is called “a son of Abraham”, a description of great spiritual privilege. In the case of the blind man, the first face he saw was that of Jesus, in the case of Zaccheus he longed to see the face of Jesus, so he climbed a tree to do so.
Zaccheus was a man who discovered the hard way that money could not compensate for lack of acceptance, and social isolation is hard to bear. His wealth bought him no acceptance with either God or man. The synagogue would have disapproved of him because he was a tax collector, and people would have shunned him, because if he was a typical tax collector, his wealth would be ill-gotten. Zaccheus was rich and lost and the question is how could such a man find his way into the Kingdom? He could not unless someone came to find him and bring salvation to his house. This is exactly what Jesus did.
Zaccheus conceives a desire to see Jesus. Where do you think that desire came from? Is it conceivable that it came from the same source that enabled the blind beggar to know that Jesus was the Son of David? Can you remember when your spiritual hunger and curiosity first started? Who set it in motion?
When Jesus looked up into the face of Zaccheus it was a moment Zaccheus would never forget. He found his long lost identity. For Jesus to say he had to stay at his home was to tell Zaccheus that he was a man loved by God with an eternal love – so much so that God sent His Son on purpose to find him and rescue him from his lostness and assuring him he was accepted by God.
Now Zaccheus discovers something else. To be accepted by God is to bring to life a magnanimous generosity which accompanies repentance. He now wants to give his money away. He was like his ancestor Abraham, a rich man who was justified by faith (Genesis chapter 22, James 2 vs 21-23).
Zaccheus learnt that conversion to Christ changes your attitude to wealth. You don’t hoard it but you use it to forward the work of the Kingdom.
It is a wonderful thing to know you have been accepted by God. Here we have a poor man, then a rich man, both brought into the Kingdom of God by Jesus. Having riches or not having them was not the issue. The issue is how valuable do you think Jesus is?
So one rich man turns away, but just in case we get the wrong impression Luke reports to us this account of a poor man and a rich man saved and accepted by the Lord. Truly the things that are impossible with men are possible with God.
Don’t give up on people. Leave space for God to work, and always make sure of your own relationship with God.