A change of heart that heals

The account is brief, but tells so much. As Christ Jesus passed through the town of Jericho, a man named Zacchæus was eager to see him. Zacchæus was a “publican,” a class of individuals who collected taxes for the Roman government and often charged people more than was really owed, for their own personal gain. But despite his character, this man was eager to get a glimpse of Jesus, climbing up into a tree so he could see him.

Jesus must have sensed spiritually Zacchæus’ readiness for a transformation, because he called him down from the tree, saying he was to stay at Zacchæus’ house that night. Without Jesus’ speaking a word of correction or rebuke, Zacchæus willingly acknowledged his greed and dishonest practices. Responding joyfully, he said, “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.” Jesus replied, “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham” (see Luke 19:1–10).

Zacchæus experienced a profound change of heart that day, one that seemed to happen in a moment. It was undoubtedly impelled by the pure, divine consciousness from which the Savior beheld this man’s true identity as God’s child, and by Zacchæus’ own readiness for progress. This spiritual regeneration purified his thoughts and renovated his character. In greater or lesser degree, this is something we all need.

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June 8, 2015

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