And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.”—Luke 19:9
The streets were crowded, and Zacchaeus, who was small of stature, could see nothing over the heads of the people. None would give way for him; so, running a little in advance of the multitude, to where a wide-branching fig tree hung over the way, the rich tax collector climbed to a seat among the boughs, whence he could survey the procession as it passed below. The crowd comes near, it is going by, and Zacchaeus scans with eager eyes to discern the one figure he longs to see.
Above the clamor of priests and rabbis and the shouts of welcome from the multitude, that unuttered desire of the chief publican spoke to the heart of Jesus. Suddenly, just beneath the fig tree, a group halts, the company before and behind come to a standstill, and One looks upward whose glance seems to read the soul. Almost doubting his senses, the man in the tree hears the words, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.”
The multitude give way, and Zacchaeus, walking as in a dream, leads the way toward his own home. But the rabbis look on with scowling faces, and murmur in discontent and scorn, “that He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.”
Zacchaeus had been overwhelmed, amazed, and silenced at the love and condescension of Christ in stooping to him, so unworthy. Now love and loyalty to his new-found Masterunseal his lips. He will make public his confession and his repentance.
In the presence of the multitude, “Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”—The Desire of Ages, 553-555.
Further Reflection: Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated an ability to hear the cry of human hearts above the din of everyday life. Do my needs move the heart of Jesus? Do I seek Him with the assurance that He will hear me?