“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he.” So goes the children’s Bible class song. Though he may have been short in stature, he was a spiritual giant.
How often have you heard it said, “It takes a big man to admit he’s wrong.”? Zacchaeus not only expressed his desire to follow Jesus, he was intent to go above and beyond any reasonable expectation to make amends for any past wrongdoing or transgressions. In Jewish law, if a man were found to have taken something by deceit, he was commanded by the law to restore what was taken and adding one-fifth to the total (Lev 6:1-5). Zacchaeus vowed to restore FOUR TIMES any amount taken by false means.
This also could be a look into the life and soul of this man. His pledge of restitution is likely an indication that he was an honest man. Having already vowed to give half of his goods to the poor, it would be nigh unto impossible to repay four-fold any ill-gotten gains if he had enriched himself through these means.
A man cannot be forgiven of sins he refuses to acknowledge. There is no remission without recognition. King David continued in his sin with Bathsheba until Nathan was sent to bring him to a knowledge and recognition of his transgressions. Responding to Nathan’s parable, David declared, “The man who did this deserves to die, and he shall restore fourfold…” (cf Ex 22:1). When Nathan brought home the point by identifying David as the real perpetrator, David responded with “I have sinned.” It was at this point salvation found its way back into David’s life.
When Zacchaeus recognized the Lord and, by implication, declared his intent to follow him through his statement of benevolence and restitution, salvation came to his house.
Jesus further emphasized this salvation was the very purpose of His coming: “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
The real measure of a man is never determined in feet and inches, but rather in his character and imitation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the bumper sticker says, “Real Men Love Jesus.”