Portrait Of Zaccheus
Take the case of Zaccheus. He was looking for the Saviour, and the Saviour was looking for him, and what a delightful time it was when they met!
This man was small of stature, and had a poor chance in a crowd. I can imagine the little man trying to get one glimpse at Jesus, and you can see him standing on tiptoe, but he can’t see Him, the crowd is so great. Then he runs on ahead and climbs a sycamore tree, where he thinks he can hide, for he doesn’t like to be seen looking after Christ. By and by the crowd came along. They thought Christ would sometime be crowned king, and so He had a great many followers.
If men are going to get some high office they usually have a great many admirers; but when it is Gethsemane, humiliation, and a cross, O how few want to follow Him then! I can see he looks at one man and says, “That is not Him.” Then he runs his eyes along, and at last it rests on Him Who was fairer than the sons of men. He didn’t need any one to tell him.
I can see the Son of God come to the place and stop. Every eye was centered upon Him, some one was going to be blessed. He looks up into the tree. There is one of Adam’s degenerate sons up there.
Then He calls, “Zaccheus!”
I can imagine the first thing that flashed through Zaccheus’s mind was, “Who told Him my name? He knows all about me.” Yes, sinner, God knows all about you; your name, the street you live on, in fact, He has got the very hairs of your head numbered.
“Zaccheus, make haste, and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house.”
It was a strange scene. Zaccheus was the chief publican of Jericho; the Jews wouldn’t recognize him, wouldn’t speak to him, and now Christ is going ot be his guest!
Then we read, “He made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully.” That is a good sign of conversion when a man receives Christ joyfully.
We have a good many people who write and talk against sudden conversions. But how long did it take to convert Zaccheus? When he went up the tree, nobody in Jericho would have told you he was a converted man, and yet he was a converted man when he came down, for he received the Lord joyfully. He must have been converted somewhere between the limb and the ground. You don’t believe in these sudden conversions. You say they are not genuine. I wish we had a few more Zaccheuses in Boston.
What did he do? He said: “I give half of my good to feed the poor.” The poor in Jericho believed in Zaccheus’s conversion.
But he did better than that: “If I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore to him fourfold.” There is restitution. I do hope we shall get back to those days when men make restitution, for when men begin to make restitution, the world will have confidence in the religion we preach. I can see him go back to Jericho into his office, and saying to his chief clerk: “I wish you would make out that man’s account, I want to find out how much I have taxed him.”
He looks over the account, and says: “We have taxed him $100 too much.”
Zaccheus replies, “Make out a check for $400 and send it to him.”
Don’t you believe all Jericho had confidence in Zaccheus’s conversion as these checks went flying round? That was the most powerful way to prove it. If there is a man here that has defrauded some one, don’t let him think he can get into heaven till he makes restitution. If you have taken that which doesn’t belong to you, don’t think that God is going to hear your prayer. You needn’t come to these meetings, and sing and pray, and think you are going to cover it up. God’s eyes look down and see it. If you want the blessing of God to come upon you and your family, do all in your power to make restitution; then Christ will come into your home as He did into the home of Zaccheus. He not only blessed Zaccheus himself, but Zaccheus’s wife, Mrs. Zaccheus, and all the little Zaccheuses too.
While Christ was a guest with Zaccheus, the Pharisees were grumbling and finding fault that He had gone to be a guest of a publican, and it was on this memorable occasion Christ uttered the text I have read tonight: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”