Jesus sat a child on his knee and began to instruct the people, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:17). Luke then shares similar stories of two rich men. The comparisons between them are profound. One is unnamed, the rich young ruler; the other is named, Zaccheus. One is righteous; the other is a publican. One seeks an audience with the Master; the other starts as merely a spectator. One went away sorrowful; the other saved.
What was the difference? Notice their approach to the Savior. The rich young ruler came with pomp and circumstance, kneeling before the Master and sought the Savior’s approval. Truly, he expected the Master Teacher to say, “You have lived perfectly. There is nothing more you can do to inherit eternal life.” He came with expectations.
Everything about Zaccheus was childlike. The writer even points out he was of little stature. Zaccheus runs and climbs a tree. When’s the last time you climbed a tree for the fun of it? These were childish things to do, but they are written on purpose to draw you back to the instruction from Jesus.
Jesus is not searching for immaturity. He is searching for simplicity and surrender. When one does not presume to be equal with God, they will come in the simplicity of humility. There is no pomp or circumstance. They know they have nothing of value to offer. Zaccheus was wealthy and could have tried to impress the Lord, but he came in simplicity. Can you imagine how he must have felt? First, Jesus noticed him. Then Jesus knew him, “Zaccheus!” Finally, Jesus loved him, “Make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). This led to Zaccheus redeeming response—surrender. He didn’t quibble with the details of the law like the Pharisees. Whatever wrong he may have done, he would repay it abundantly for his sin debt was graciously forgiven.
One of the rich men experienced salvation. The other did not. Have you come to the Savior in simplicity? Or have you been trying to impress Him? Have you realized “all have come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)? Have you surrendered to Him?