A Changed Man (Luke 19:8)
Luke 19:8, “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 any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”
When Adoniram Judson made preparation to go to Burma, God spoke to his heart about people that he had wronged before he was saved. During his years when he lived in New York City and was indulging in the sinful lifestyle of this world, he had cheated several men out of their money. Adoniram realized that God would not bless his ministry until he cleared his conscience with these men and made restitution. Judson made a trip to New York and sought out the people that he had wronged and asked for their forgiveness. He returned the money that he had wrongfully taken from them and returned home with a new peace and joy in his heart and greater boldness in his speaking.
When we look at Zacchaeus, we find he truly repented and his life was drastically changed for the better. He became concerned about those who were stricken with poverty, giving half of his wealth to the poor. He didn't have to do that, but he wanted to help them. He began to use his money as a tool of blessing, focusing on others instead of himself. Zacchaeus was a rich man that did what the rich young ruler refused to do. Also, Zacchaeus wanted to clear his conscience and make matters right with other people. He was concerned about restitution for people he wronged, restoring four-fold what he had taken from others. His restitution was more than what was required of him.
A pastor once shared a story when he was in a service. The preacher said there was a meeting in progress at which several women were giving their testimony. One woman kept silent. She was asked to testify but refused. She was asked why and she answered, “Some of these women who have just given their testimony, owe me money, and I and my family have been hungry because we cannot buy food." A few women had no credibility at all because their actions did not back up what they claimed. A Christian's testimony is utterly worthless unless it is backed by deeds which guarantee its sincerity. It is not a simple change of words which Jesus Christ demands, but a change of life. True confession of sin and genuine faith in Christ will result in positive character change that will be evident through godly actions. No one can become acquainted with Jesus, accept His offer of salvation, and at the same time remain defiant, dishonest, and uncharitable toward others.
When a sinner is converted, there will be great changes made. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17). Zaccheus certainly made some tremendous changes after he met Jesus Christ. When a person is truly converted, there will be consecration in his life and lips. Zaccheus was concerned about the needy. He wanted purity in his conduct, which meant he would be honest. Christianity has produced this attitude in the world. When Zacchaeus testified this to the Lord. Jesus said, "This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Restitution is a key proof in convincing others that you have trusted Christ as your Saviour. For most people, all they remember is what you were like before you were saved, especially if you were a cheat. If you go to these people and tell them about Jesus after you are saved, but you have not made offenses right, then you have no credibility. If you seek their forgiveness for wrongs in the past, if you make restitution for financial matters or damages, then you give credibility to what you tell them about what has happened to you. You also create curiosity about Jesus Christ. If you have an opportunity to make things right with God and others, then don't let the opportunity slip away.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to learn from the example of Zacchaeus. May my life continue to be changed and challenged to live a life that brings glory and pleasure to You. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.