The Signs of the Times


June 11, 1896

Salvation is Come to Thine House


“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him; for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” ST June 11, 1896, par. 1

The reception of Christ by Zacchaeus was one of the bright spots in the Saviour's experience as he journeyed through Jericho. The members of his own family did not believe on him as the world's Redeemer, and their unbelief brought anguish to the Saviour's heart. He knew that they were losing precious opportunities to become acquainted with him, and to receive the precious lessons of truth which he was giving to his people. He had been rejected by the scribes and Pharisees, and by the chief priests and religious leaders of his own nation, because his teachings did not harmonize with the teaching of the professed people of God. They could not be reconciled to the fact that Jesus, who was unrecognized as a religious teacher by the rabbis and scribes, should teach as one having authority. Neither could they bear the manifestation of love and mercy that he gave to those who were considered outcasts and sinners. ST June 11, 1896, par. 2

Zacchaeus was a Jew, and yet a publican. He was even chief among the publicans, having oversight of those who gathered in the taxes in behalf of the Roman Government. A publican was one who was despised by the Jewish people, and the fact that Zacchaeus was a Jew, and still occupied this position, made him doubly offensive. They looked upon him with contempt, altho he was a man of considerable wealth and of some influence in the position which he held. Some looked upon Christ with hatred, and thought themselves much better than Zacchaeus; but they did not respond to his heavenly teaching or yield to the drawing influence of the Holy Spirit. They were surprised to see Zacchaeus accept Christ so readily. They were astonished to see him come down joyfully from the tree to give the hospitality of his house to one who was apparently poor in earthly possessions. They did not understand that Christ had become poor for humanity's sake, in order that through his poverty they might be made possessors of eternal riches. ST June 11, 1896, par. 3

Zacchaeus had heard of Christ's merciful works, had listened to the repetition of his wonderful teaching, and had longed to see Christ for himself. The words of the Saviour that had been reported to him by those who had heard him, had taken deep hold of his heart, and had made him realize that he needed to reform his life. He felt deeply the need of repentance, of making restitution to those whom he had unjustly taxed, and of whom he had demanded exorbitant rates. He desired to know more of the principles and doctrines of this wonderful Teacher. The seed of truth had been sown in his heart, and he had nurtured it, and it was about to bring forth a harvest unto the glory of God. ST June 11, 1896, par. 4

The scribes and Pharisees murmured among themselves as they heard the words of gracious favor to Zacchaeus. They were eager to find something with which to accuse Christ, and to lead the people to reject him. Christ was the Prince of God, yet he was not honored even as are earthly princes. He did not come in splendid state, and pass through the cities of men in gorgeous equipage. He made one of the multitude among which he traveled. He spoke words of encouragement to the despondent, relieved those who were suffering, healed the sick and afflicted, and blessed those who came within the sphere of his influence. He came as the missionary of heaven to represent the Father, and he rejoiced whenever he met a soul who received him without prejudice, and responded to the gracious drawing of the Spirit of God. Tho the scribes and Pharisees murmured that favor had been shown to Zacchaeus, his heart rejoiced as Jesus said, “I must abide at thy house.” ST June 11, 1896, par. 5

Zacchaeus could hardly think that he had heard aright. He was overwhelmed with the condescension of the great Teacher in choosing his home as the place of his abode. It had been in his power to oppress those from whom he was appointed to gather the taxes. He was convicted that his practice was out of harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures. He knew the Scriptures, and under the influence of the words that had been reported to him, that had come from the lips of the great Teacher, he had become aware that he was a sinner in the sight of God. He began at once to follow the conviction that had taken hold upon him, and to make restitution to those whom he had robbed. This was an evidence of genuine conversion. The scribes and Pharisees expressed their indignation, saying that Christ had gone to be the guest of a man that was a sinner; but the fact of the matter was the Holy Spirit was working upon this man's mind, and the multitude had a clear evidence of the fact. “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” ST June 11, 1896, par. 6

In thus doing Zacchaeus was following out the very instructions which the Lord had given in the Old Testament Scriptures, and showed himself to be a doer of the words of Christ. When the publicans had come to be baptized of John in the Jordan, they asked, “What shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.” In restoring fourfold for what he had taken in extortion, he was following the word of the prophet when he said, “He shall restore the lamb fourfold because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Jesus recognized his sincere repentance, and accepted his work toward reformation. “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” Not only was Zacchaeus blessed, but all his household with him. ST June 11, 1896, par. 7

What a lesson is there for us in the history of Zacchaeus’ conversion! If we have injured others through any unjust business transaction, if we have overreached in trade, or defrauded any man, even tho it be within the pale of the law, yet if we are Christians, we shall confess our wrong, and make restitution as far as in us lies. We should give evidence that there is a genuine work of grace within our hearts. If earthly courts award to us property that is not justly ours, we are not to accept the decision of unjust judges. Tho we may be clear on the records of men, yet in the books of heaven we will be written as oppressors, and the case will go against us when judgment shall take place in the courts of God. ST June 11, 1896, par. 8

Before Zacchaeus had looked upon the face of Christ, he had begun the work that makes him manifest as a true penitent. Before being accused by man, he had confessed his wrong. He had yielded to the convictions of the Holy Spirit. He had begun to carry out the spirit of the words written for ancient Israel, as well as for ourselves. He said to the Saviour, “The half of my goods I give to the poor.” The Lord had said long before: “If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him; yea, tho he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.” “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God.” These words had been spoken by Christ when he was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud. The same Teacher had spoken these words as had spoken the sermon on the mount. It was Christ who had said, “Ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments.” Christ had presented the same principles on the mount of beatitudes as he had on Mount Sinai. He had said that on the principles of love to God and to our neighbor, hung all the law and the prophets. ST June 11, 1896, par. 9

When the human agent is awakened by the Holy Spirit, the least that he can do is to acknowledge his wrong, and to work earnestly to restore both principal and interest to those whom he has defrauded. Among the publicans existed a confederacy, so that these men could oppress the people, and sustain one another in the fraudulent practices. Zacchaeus by his repentance and reformation protested against this confederacy. He restored fourfold to those whom he had oppressed. If we have wronged any one by taking away that which was justly his due, we should consider that it is right for us to restore not only that which we have taken, but all that it would have accumulated if it had been put to a wise and right use during the time it has been in our possession. ST June 11, 1896, par. 10

To Zacchaeus the Saviour said, “This day is salvation come to this house.” Christ went to his home to abide with him, to give him lessons of truth, to instruct his household in the things of his kingdom. Salvation comes to the soul when Christ is received as a personal Saviour. The case of Zacchaeus was a most grateful token to Christ as he journeyed on his way. Tho the scribes and the Pharisees accused Zacchaeus of being a sinner, and murmured against Christ because he had condescended to be his guest, yet the Lord looked upon the matter in an altogether different light. Instead of denominating Zacchaeus a sinner, he recognized him as a “son of Abraham.” He had made it manifest that he was worthy to be called a son of Abraham; for he resembled Abraham in character, and was full of faith, accepting Christ as his Saviour, as did also the “father of the faithful.” Of himself Christ said, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Those who had condemned others, who thought themselves beyond the need of repentance, were shown to be greater sinners than those they condemned. Those whom they accused would go into the kingdom of heaven, and those who thought themselves righteous, and who vindicated their own course, would be cast out. Jesus had come, as he said, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, and those who receive him joyfully, will recognize the fact that salvation has come to their souls. ST June 11, 1896, par. 11