The proof is in the pudding. Real, homemade banana pudding is wonderful. It has that rich flavor of vanilla, thick slices of bananas, and the vanilla wafers. But if we try that prepackaged, stick in your lunch box, plastic sealed banana pudding, there is no comparison. The homemade banana pudding beats the prepackaged pudding every time. There is no comparison for the real deal. When we have real, homemade banana pudding we know we have something good.
Likewise, when we have real faith, there is nothing like it. Zacchaeus experienced real faith. Jesus testified to Zacchaeus’ faith. When Jesus says someone has salvation, then that person has salvation. It is not a “maybe.” It is not a “might have.” It is real. For Zacchaeus to have salvation means he demonstrated two essentials for salvation.
First, he had faith in Jesus. Wanting to see Jesus and calling Jesus, “Lord,” helps us see a searching faith. The second essential Zacchaeus demonstrated was his living out his faith. He lived out his faith by making amends for the wrong he had done. He had evidence of his faith. This is what real faith looks like. The reward of this real faith is salvation. He demonstrated his repentance by making amends.
We know Jesus, the Son of Man, came to seek out and save the lost. It doesn’t matter who a person is or what a person has done. Jesus meets us where we are. As Jesus meets us, then we can have salvation come to our house as we demonstrate real faith in Jesus. That is what happened to Zachaeus.
A. Is this the only reason why was Jesus in Jericho? (19:1)
a. City that Joshua & the Israelites marched around for 7 days
b. The city itself was not to be rebuilt, for Joshua cursed the city (Joshua 6:26)!
2. Passing through Jericho?
3. Jesus came to seek out and save the lost. Even if the lost are in Jericho, Jesus seeks them out. Jesus is still seeking people. Even if people are in a cursed place, Jesus is seeking people. Jesus is even seeking people in our community, maybe some who are in this worship service today! We pray that people like Zacchaeus want to see Jesus!
B. Indeed, Zachaeus gets to see Jesus (19:2-6)
a. Chief tax collector
c. Trying to see Jesus, but he was short
d. So, he climbed a tree with low hanging branches, a sycamore tree
2. Jesus came to Zachaeus
3. Zacchaeus was excited!
4. Oh, to hear Jesus say that he must stay at our house today! I am confident we would get excited to hear these words from Jesus. I can tell you today, Jesus must stay at your house today. Does that get you excited? Will you be willing to do what is necessary to show you have faith in Jesus?
C. Zachaeus demonstrates real faith (19:7-9)
1. The people who saw what was going on, grumbled
2. “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner”
3. Zacchaeus was right there, with the grumbling people!
4. Zacchaeus tells Jesus
b. Half of my possessions I will give to the poor
c. Since I have defrauded others, I will pay back four times as much
5. Jesus tells the grumblers:
a. Today salvation has come to this house – I have made this house better, healed them, forgiven them
b. Because he too is a son of Abraham – Zacchaeus has faith, just like Abraham had faith
6. Jesus came to seek out and save the lost. All we do is demonstrate that we have faith in Jesus. We repent of our sins. When we repent, we realize God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. As we repent, we make amends for our wrongdoing. John the Baptist would call this having fruit of our repentance. In other words, we have evidence of our faith inspired repentance. There is proof in the pudding of our lives that we have repented. Thus God shows salvation in our lives. Zacchaeus receives salvation because he repented when Jesus came to see him.
D. Why was Jesus in Jericho? (19:10)
1. Jesus traveled to Jericho to see Zacchaeus
2. Jesus was in Jericho for Zacchaeus
3. Zacchaeus had his ways which were taking him away from God
4. Zacchaeus needed to know God still wanted him
5. Jesus found Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus found Jesus. But he also found life, salvation. Jesus has found many people like Zacchaeus. Jesus goes where others don’t go. And he gives salvation to those who repent when they meet him!
All this talk about salvation may bring to mind very own time of conversion. If we have not shown fruit of repentance, then we are not alone. One of the founders of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, said on his trip to Georgia, “I went to America to convert the Indians; but, oh, who shall convert me?” Upon his return to England, John Wesley did bear fruits worthy of repentance. And he had been an Anglican priest for years! What about us?
Has salvation come to your house? Have you faith in Jesus Christ? Are you showing the fruits of repentance like Zacchaeus did? May salvation come to our houses as we find Jesus is looking for us! May salvation come to our houses as we live our faith in Jesus! May salvation come to our house as bear fruits worthy of our repentance!