And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.…
I. HOW DID ZACCHEUS HAPPEN TO BE CONVERTED? He wanted to see Jesus, what sort of a man (τίς ἐστιν) He was — a low motive, but it was the salvation of Zaccheus. It is surprising that he should never have seen or heard Jesus, when Jericho was so near Jerusalem, and Jesus was so famous a prophet. The ignorance of intelligent men concerning religion is astonishing. We should encourage people to go to see who Jesus is, pray that they may go, from curiosity if from no higher motive. Taking Zaccheus's standpoint, the awakening of his curiosity probably explains how he happened to be converted. From Christ's standpoint we get a different view. He had Zaccheus in mind, so it appeared. When He came to the tree and called his name and bade him come down, He said, "To-day I must abide at thy house." "I must." This was among the events in the fixed, predetermined order of those last solemn days. "To-day" the seeking sinner and the seeking Saviour were to meet. "We see from the story," says Dr. Brown, "that we may look for unexpected con. versions."
II. WHAT CONVERTED ZACCHEUS? Suppose he had been asked the question that evening. He would have given different answers. He would have spoken of the influence of Bartimeus, or of Matthew. Again, he would speak of the call of Jesus, the brief, thrilling words, beginning with his own name. Or, in another mood, he would say, "It was because I heeded, first the voice within, and then that voice Divine. I converted myself. I listened. I came down. I received Him. How fortunate that I took that resolution!" At another time he would emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit. "I never should have taken the first step, the thought of it would never have lodged in my mind, without some power from without moving me. It was not like me. It was contrary to the whole course of my life. It must have been the work of the Holy Ghost." So it is in the case of every convert. Each answer would contain a phase of the truth.
III. WHEN WAS ZACCHEUS CONVERTED? "Somewhere between the limb and the ground" — Moody. The prodigal was converted when he said, "I will arise," Zaccheus when he said, "I will go down." There is no interval between surrender and conversion. If Zaccheus had died as he moved to descend, he would have been saved. God does not delay us. He gives when we take.
IV. WHAT WERE THE EVIDENCES OF THE CONVERSION OF ZACCHEUS?
1. He received Christ. Notice that it was Zaccheus who received Christ. We must receive Him before He can receive us (John 1:12).
2. Joyfulness. He received Him joyfully.
3. Zaccheus "stood." He made, that is, an open confession. It was harder to do this than to climb the tree. This, every true convert will do (Romans 10:6-10).
4. Confession and reformation.
(G. R. Leavitt.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.