The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 77 of 207
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If we think of the Seeker as a Shepherd, as we may (Luke 15: 4), what a wealth of
revelation does this one figure supply of the character of the God of all grace! What did
this Seeker come to do? He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Look at that
epitome of the Divine plan of redemption. "Seek . . . . . save . . . . . lost." The word
"lost" signifies two things. One may be lost, like a lost coin, a lost sheep, or a lost child:
such need "finding". One many be lost as a lost soul, a lost sinner: such need "saving".
That both conceptions are intended in the word "lost" is evident, for the Seeker did not
only come to seek the lost, but to save the lost as well.
This coming "to seek and to save" necessitated the Lord of glory laying aside all that
belonged to His exalted position in the higher heavens, taking upon Him flesh and blood,
and being made in the likeness of men and in the form of a slave. In prosecuting this
search for the lost, He not only traveled all the way from glory to Bethlehem's manger,
but to Calvary's cross, and Joseph's tomb; and He Who sought found, He Who sought
saved. The passage in Luke 19: that supplies us with the text before us, speaks of
Zacchæus, who was so far "lost" as to have become "chief among the publicans"--an
odious position in the eyes of Israel--a man who gathered taxes for a Pagan oppressor.
When the great Seeker found Zacchæus, He said:--
"This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham"
(Luke 19: 9).
This restored son of Abraham immediately manifested the fact of his salvation by his
new attitude:--
"And Zacchæus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I
give to the poor; and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore him fourfold"
(Luke 19: 8).
It must not be assumed that Zacchæus implied that this was his normal attitude, but
that it was to be his new attitude. He uses the present tense, as The Companion Bible
comments, "I give, i.e., now propose to give. Referring to a present vow, not to a past
habit". Again, the next statement, "If I have taken any thing be false accusation", does
not mean that the case was purely hypothetical: it assumes the fact. Zacchæus had done
what most tax-gatherers had done, and what the baneful system of government almost
compelled them to do to make a living out of their profession. This custom is referred to
by John the Baptist in Luke 3: 13 when he advised the publicans, who came for
baptism unto repentance, to "exact no more than that which is appointed you". The word
that Zacchæus used for "taking by false accusation" is sukophanteo, which is our
English "sycophant", a word of odious meaning. The Son of man saved this "sinner"
(Luke 19: 7) from the degradation into which sin had led him, and restored him to his
rightful position as a "son of Abraham".
Here then is a picture of that great work accomplished by the Lord for fallen man. To
seek them, He left heaven's glory; to save them, He became the Son of man, and in
saving them He not only saved them from the consequences of their guilt, but he saved