1 DECEMBER (PREACHED CHRISTMAS EVENING 1769)
The coming of Christ
‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ Luke 19:10
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Matthew 9:9–13
Attentive observers of divine providence may often remark that very great events often arise from small and unthought-of occasions. What an important moment, when a soul is first converted to God. What a change then takes place, yet how suddenly, and as it were accidentally, is it brought about. We have here an occasion which has been often made successful—curiosity. Zacchaeus did not press through the multitude to Jesus; he only wanted to see him from the top of a tree as he passed by. But behold Jesus, whom he thought a stranger, looked up and called him by his name—divine power accompanies the word, grace reached his heart, and that day salvation came to his house. O that it may be so with some present. Our Lord was often reproached by the blind Pharisees for the mercy he showed to the unworthy, and probably upon this occasion, as the publicans, or tax gatherers, of whom Zacchaeus was a chief, were the objects of their scorn and hatred. It was perhaps to prevent or answer their usual objections that he intimates how agreeable his conduct to Zacchaeus was to his own character and the great design of his coming into the world, which was not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance—to seek and to save that which was lost.
Zacchaeus climbed the tree,
His long forgotten faults
And thought himself unknown;
Are brought again in view,
But how surprised was he
And all his secret thoughts
When JESUS called him down!
Revealed in public too:
The LORD beheld him, though concealed,
Though compassed with a crowd about,
And by a word his power revealed.
The searching word has found him out.
While thus distressing pain
Oft brings them in the way,
And sorrow fills his heart,
Only the man to see,
He hears a voice again,
And hear what he can say;
That bids his fears depart:
But how the sinner starts to find
Then like Zacchaeus he is blest,
The preacher knows his inmost mind.
And JESUS deigns to be his guest.
SERMON: LUKE 19:10 [1/5]