Words of Divine Comfort, Octavius Winslow— 1872
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today.”
But the crowds were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Luke 19:5,7
The social element of our Lord’s nature found its appropriate and widest scope in the race He had come to redeem. It formed, indeed, one of the most marked and effective instruments of His mission of love. Overcoming every class barrier, and penetrating the hardest surface of society, it bore Him into every abode of man, blending Him with every form of sorrow and suffering. Jesus was now the guest of Zaccheus. He had come to seek and to save that which was lost; and this rich man, and chief among the publicans, was one of them. Living in sin though he was, and now concealed amid the foliage of the sycamore tree, the Savior knew where to find, and how to call this “hidden one” of His eternal love, this “vessel of mercy afore-ordained unto glory.” “Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today.” But the crowds were displeased. ‘He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,’ they grumbled.” Blessed testimony! Jesus is still our guest; He still abides and banquets with us.
What a banquet is the Gospel Feast at which we meet the Savior! It is just the feast our famished souls need. Here is the full forgiveness of all sin; here is a free grace, justification from all things; here is adoption into God’s family; here is the wine and the milk of God’s love and the Savior’s grace, “without money and without price,” for all who have “nothing to pay.” Approach, my soul, for, “all things are ready.” Come, not waiting to change your clothing, or for some self-cleansing, but just as you are, since Jesus has provided the fountain that washes, and the robe that clothes you; the only plea springing from yourself, that you are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Oh, remember that Jesus is the guest of sinners!
Jesus meets His saints at the table of His Holy Communion. If ever heaven and earth unite and embrace, it is then! When the King sits at the table, surrounded by the people of His love, eating by faith of His flesh, and drinking by faith of His blood–symbols, and nothing more, of His atoning death–it is a heaven below, lacking but the immediate and unveiled presence of the glorified Lord. Approach, then, oh my soul, take your place as a welcome guest at this heavenly banquet, and hear your Lord’s sweet welcome, “Eat, O friends, and drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
“He knows what wandering hearts we have,
Apt to forget His lovely face;
And to refresh our minds He gave
These kind memorials of His grace.
“The Lord of life this table spread
With His own flesh and dying blood;
We on the rich provision feed,
And taste the wine, and bless our God.
“While He is absent from our sight,
‘Tis to prepare our souls a place,
That we may dwell in heavenly light,
And live forever near His face.”
Oh my soul, invite Jesus often to your house, for none ever entertained such a guest as He. He brings His own refreshment, and always gives more than He receives. Receive Him into your house, worship Him at your domestic altar, acknowledge Him at your meals, invite Him to your marriage feasts, and see that He has on all occasions a loving reception, and the best entertainment–even a loving and an unreserved heart. O Lord, since you receive sinners, and eat with them, enter my humble abode, and abide with me, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.