And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold (Luke 19:8 KJV)
The story of Zacchaeus gives us a dramatic illustration of the transforming power of grace— the extravagant lavishing of God’s kindness on the one who least deserves it, and how this carries the secret of transforming the human heart.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector. If there was ever a group of sinners that the Jewish people detested, tax collectors would be amongst those that headed the list. On His way to Jerusalem one day, Jesus decided to spend the night in Jericho. He did not choose a Pharisee’s house or one of the chief priests. He decided to spend the night in Zacchaeus’ house. The “righteous” Pharisees and chief priests were deeply offended. Zacchaeus himself indeed could not have believed what was happening. Jesus chose to spend the night in his house— a sinner.
Jesus did not speak a single word to him about sin, at least not recorded. Zacchaeus received such a blessing of the presence, knowing how sinful he was. Take a look at the verse above to see his reaction. He gave half of his goods to the poor and restored all the money he had stolen from people, with interest. Jesus did not tell him to do any of these things. He simply showed him grace, undeserved favor.
Sinful humanity is not changed by laws or fear of punishment etc. Even God Himself used that in the Old Testament and knew that it could not change people. Man’s heart is sicker than laws or fear of punishment can fix. When people discover the goodness of God poured out on them, which they do not deserve, there is an unexplained power that is triggered to bring about a transformation and a deep love for God. The goodness of God leads men to repentance!( Rom. 4:2)
Can you see how Jesus preached a wordless sermon to Zaccheus?
APPLY THE WORD
Seek to know the love and the goodness of the Father. Nothing will change you as an understanding of how much God loves you. It is same with those around you. The Gospel is not a proclaiming of hell that is coming. It is a proclamation of the love of God. This in no way means we should never warn people of the consequences of sin as some grace teachings today imply. WE should preach the full message , and know how to properly divide the Word.However, it is His grace that transforms.
Ask the Lord to open your understanding to discover more and more of His love for you.