Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. Jesus is making this statement regarding salvation as a reference to his statement previously to Zacchaeus when he was in the tree, "make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. Jesus' repeating of the noun "oikos-house/home" shows a connection between the two references. Jesus first said "I" am going to your house, and his second reference was, "salvation" has come to your house. Conclusion, Jesus = salvation.
First, I think we need to recognize Zacchaeus' actions throughout this passage to understand what Jesus recognized from Zacchaeus' actions regarding the inward reality of Zacchaeus' heart and motivations to his actions.1
This gives precedence for this type of practice and what I will attempt to do below.
List of Zacchaeus’ actions that I believe expose his heart in the text:
"he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him"
This is the first action we see from Zacchaeus. The text doesn't specifically say what we can we deduce from this action but lets consider a few things. The text explains to us that he was the chief tax collector meaning he was the head of the department. Also that he was a rich man.
Further the text says he wanted to see Jesus but couldn't because of the great crowd, so his response was to climb the tree. Now obviously he could have responded in many ways - Lets say he walked away because of the difficulty with the crowd. What could we deduce by that action is that it wasn’t that important for him to “see” Jesus. So lets consider what the text says he did - climbed the tree.
- Do regular people typically climb trees? - maybe
- Do distinguished people climb trees? - unlikely
- Do distinguished rich people climb trees? - more unlikely
- Do distinguished rich people climb trees in front of crowds of people?- NO
So I conclude that it was paramount in the heart of Zacchaeus to see Jesus, because he was willing to do whatever it took, even if it meant his pride, affluency, and reputation, just to get a glimpse of Him. Remembering that Zacchaeus had no clue that Jesus would recognize him at all.
Also we have to look at Jesus’ response to Zacchaeus climbing the tree, to get a glimpse of what Jesus deduced from Zacchaeus’ action.
Jesus saw him, and out of all the people in the crowd, wanted to stay/remain (greek - meno - abide, continue, lasting, live) with him in his house. To me that is evidence that He wanted to begin a relationship with Zacchaeus.
Look at Luke 10 - where the seventy are sent out. In verse 7 this same greek word meno is used. Jesus says,
“Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.”
I believe that the itinerant Jesus was going to do the same thing that he told the seventy sent out. If the person receives you remain there as long as you are in that city.
So again, I conclude, like I said earlier, Jesus believed that it was paramount in the heart of Zacchaeus to see Him, since Zacchaeus was willing to do whatever it took, even if it meant his pride, affluency, and reputation, just to get a glimpse of Him.
Final conclusion of Zacchaeus first action:
By Zacchaeus’ actions we see his heart's motivation and by Jesus’ response we see Zacchaeus’ hearts motivation.
In response to Jesus's question in verse 5, we see the second action of Zacchaeus. Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house.” Zacchaeus' response in verse 6, "So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly". Again I believe, for Jesus, this is an outward expression of an inward reality. There are many texts in the gospels that express that there is a prerequisite to having a relationship with Him and that is accepting/receiving of Jesus/the gospel. Here is one:
John 13:20 Jesus says, "Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
By Zacchaeus accepting / receiving Jesus into the place he lives, is expressing the fact that Zacchaeus has nothing to hide and in fact “gladly” receives Jesus into the most intimate place of his life.
The home is the place the family lives and the most intimate place of our lives. No one knows me better than the ones who spend time with me in my home. The more time someone spends in my home the more they know me intimately. I believe if you really want to know someone or be known by someone you have to go to or let them in your “home”.
Jer 23:24 - “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?”
Luke 12:1-3 “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have [c]whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.2
The third action that Zacchaeus did that exposes the reality inside his heart is when he stops Jesus on the way to his house and says, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”
Many times in the NT it says one must repent to be forgiven of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 24:47) gladly exposing the darkness in your life so you can come to the light.
Jesus said to the rich man regarding rich men in Matt 19:24, “I say to you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus then tells the man “to go sell everything he has and give to the poor, and come follow me” finally the concluding remarks of the writer says, “when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich”.
But not Zacchaeus he was glad to give it even without being asked and was following Jesus as he said those things.
Final conclusion of Zacchaeus first action:
By Zacchaeus’ actions we see his hearts motivation and by Jesus’ response we see Zacchaeus’ heart's motivation.
FINALLY WE GET TO THE CONCLUSION OF JESUS AND THE WRITER - LUKE:
Jesus / Luke’s conclusion:
“Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Consider a few things:
- For Jesus there is a difference between descendants (sperma - greek word for descendants) and calling Abraham there father / being sons of Abraham. (John 8:31-59)
- Abraham had 2 sons Ishmael born of the flesh and Isaac - miraculously born of faith! The Jews knew that Jesus was making reference to this fact and it offended them.
Biblically in Jesus' mind a son of Abraham is a man of faith that produces works that prove he has faith, just like Abraham (Heb 11:17...)
- What is a “son of Abraham in the eyes of Jesus. Refer back to the text above and Luke 3: 7-9 - John the baptist says bear fruits in keeping with repentance.
- Matt 8:5-13 (key in on vs’s 10-12 “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith [l]with anyone in Israel. 11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and [m]recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” )
- Luke also records this but there is not such an emphasis on the Jews, because Matthews gospel was written to the Jews.
- This passage shows a man who Jesus said, “I haven’t seen such great faith in all Israel” but then in context to the centurion and his faith, many from east and west (other nations) will recline at the table of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but the “sons of the kingdom” will be cast out. These are in the lineage of but not of the faith of the patriarchs!
Anyone with Faith = The true children of Abraham in the eye of Jesus!
Who is a son of Abraham? Read Gal 3...
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus
Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I
want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of
the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun
by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you
suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then,
does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you,
do it by the works of [h]the Law, or by hearing with faith?
6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as
righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith
who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would
justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to
Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then
those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for
it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things
written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one
is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man
shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the
contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” 13 Christ
redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for
us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in
order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the
Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through
As a side-note the name Zacchaeus means pure. This passage exposes that the name fit this man!
1 This is something typical of Jesus expressed in the gospels. As a reference of proof look at Matt 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 7:36-50 regarding the woman with the alabaster of perfume. In short Matthew and Mark say nothing regarding this woman’s inward reality of love for Jesus, although it can be deduced by her actions, but Luke expands the event explaining that Jesus recognized this sinful woman’s internal reality of great love in her heart based on her outward action of pouring out the alabaster of perfume.
2 Also cf. Scriptures of people exposed and receiving forgiveness: John 8:1-11, John 4.