Imagine a businessman dressed in a fine suit. He gets driven around in a limo and has his office assistant make him coffee every morning while he brokers million dollar deals from the 80th floor of a financial corporation. He does some back room illegal deals but doesn’t think much of it. “It’s just business,” he says. Although he is making millions and has everything a person could want, inside he is barren. He is horrified to think that “this is all there is” to life.
One day, he gets a call from a friend that a man who he recently heard about is in town – A man people say is changing the world. “Could this man have the answer I’ve been looking for?”, he thinks. He drops everything and leaves to find this man. He hears someone say that a huge crowd is gathered a few blocks away and that this “Savior” is there. So he runs to where they are gathering, passing the crowd and because he is short, and can’t see where the man is, finds a tree and climbs it, not caring about his expensive suit or what anyone thinks.
There was a man in the Bible name Zacchaeus who did just that. In Luke 19:1–10, you find that there is more to this story than a man making a fool of himself in a tree.
In this story, Zacchaeus did three things that show us when you really want something:
He ran to meet Jesus. He did not walk to the tree, but ‘ran.’ How do you know you want something? You don’t walk but run to it. (verse 4).
Have you noticed that unless it’s the doctor, school or discipline, children always run to where they are going. They are so full of life and awe and don’t want to miss a thing – so they run to it. As adults, we run to our favorite hobbies in the world, or the thing that gives us energy, or makes us feel alive. When there is longing in your heart, you don’t walk, you run.
Zacchaeus did another thing, though in an inadvertent way: He refused to care about what anyone thought. Picture this businessman in his fine suit running and climbing trees like an eight year old boy. He simply did not care what anyone thought.
David went after God in this same scandalous way when he celebrated God’s return to the city of Jerusalem. He threatens his disparaging wife that he hadn’t even begun to humiliate himself:
I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.
2 Samuel 6:22
There is something about this lavish expression done by Zacheus that caused Jesus to STOP. Later Jesus calls Zacchaeus to come down and Zacchaeus rushed to meet him. God is attracted to urgency. When was the last our pursuit of God made Him stop?
The third thing Zacchaeus did was he righted the wrongs he did with no thought of the cost.
This was over and above the restitution that a thief was to make in Exodus 22:1.
“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold.”
Real repentance makes restoration without conditions. Like Zacchaeus, it goes over the top to right wrongs. Anything less is just emotionalism – A love of ideas and not God.
Such an act does not earn our salvation, it only proves it.
Jesus then makes an incredible comment after Zacchaeus offers to right his wrongs:
”To-day is salvation come to this house,”
Lord, come to our house in such a way that it would touch the deepest part of us!