“Today salvation has come to this house. . . .”
— Luke 19:9
Zacchaeus was a needy man. He had also been greedy, growing rich as a tax collector who could pocket the extra fees he charged. As a result, his neighbors despised him. But it seems that he wanted to change. So he threw out his dignity and scrambled up a tree to see Jesus.
More importantly, Jesus saw Zacchaeus and said, “I must stay at your house today.” We aren’t told what else Jesus might have said in their brief exchange. But the outcome was that Zacchaeus repented and promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to pay back four times what he had cheated anyone. What an amazing display of generosity! Imagine that!
What if every one of us who has extra money in our pocket were to give like that to help people in need? What might that accomplish for the poor of the world? How many wells, new schools, and health clinics could we provide?
It may seem that Zacchaeus was just bubbling over with enthusiasm. But he was actually pledging to obey God’s laws about economic justice (see Exodus 22; Leviticus 6). So he was not just being generous—he was being faithful and obedient. That’s why Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.”
This is ultimately a story of great joy: a lost sinner is found, the poor are well served, and Jesus has a new disciple.
Lord, when I seek you sincerely, I find you seeking me. Make me faithful, serving you in the joy of salvation. Amen.