And Jesus said unto him
The Persic version reads, "Jesus said to the multitude, and to his disciples"; to which well enough agree the following words:
this day is salvation come to this house:
to the master of it, and it may be to others in it; the Arabic version reads, "to the inhabitants of this house". The Persic version reads, "great salvation"; by which may be meant, the Gospel, as in ( Hebrews 2:3 ) so called, because it brings the account of salvation by Christ, which is not discoverable by the light of nature, nor made known by the law of Moses; but the Gospel publishes and proclaims it; the ministers of it show unto men the way of salvation, and direct them, and encourage to go to Christ for it; likewise the Gospel is the means of bringing near this salvation, and of applying it to them; and when it comes with the demonstration of the Spirit, it is the power of God unto salvation: and this might be truly said to come to Zacchaeus's house; inasmuch as Christ the great preacher of it, and by whom it first began to be spoken, and was spoken by him, as it never was by any one besides, was now in his house, preaching it; the sum and substance of which lie in the words delivered by him in the following verse; and the Gospel came to him to purpose, and was effectual: sometimes it comes to a people, city, town, or family, and it is rejected, and becomes of no effect; but here it came to Zacchaeus, and into him; and wrought effectually in him, as his words in the preceding verse declare: moreover, the blessing of salvation itself, which is wrought out by Christ, and published in the Gospel, was brought home to him; he was not only made sensible that he stood in need of salvation, but this was brought near unto him, and set before him, and applied to him; he had not only hopes of it, but faith of interest in it; it was made known unto him, that Christ was his salvation; and it was revealed and applied to the rest of the family, as well as to him: sometimes the Lord takes one of a city, and two of a family; and sometimes whole families, as Lydia's and the jailor's, and here Zacchaeus's, as seems probable; for by his house may be meant, his family: though this may be understood of Christ, the author of salvation; who came into his house in a literal sense, as well as in a spiritual sense; and was made known to Zacchaeus, as his Saviour and Redeemer. The Alexandrian copy reads, "in this house": it follows,
forasmuch as he also is the son of Abraham.
These words are to be considered, either as a reason, or evidence, of salvation being come to his house; and therefore cannot be understood of him as a son of Abraham, by natural descent: he was indeed a Jew, as appears by his name, and by his knowledge of the Jewish law, concerning restoration; and which may be confirmed by the silence of the Pharisees, who murmured at Christ's going along with him; who, had he been a Gentile, would not have failed to have mentioned it; but then, though this might be a reason justifying Christ in going to his house, who did not exceed the bounds of his office, as the minister of the circumcision, and as sent, and that only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; yet this could be no reason of spiritual salvation coming to him, which was not confined to Abraham's natural seed, nor was it necessary to them, more than others, and much less general; and indeed, very few of them then in being, partook of it; for though salvation was of them, and Christ the Saviour came unto them, yet they rejected him, and died in their sins: nor is this a reason of salvation coming to his family; for though by virtue of the covenant of circumcision made with Abraham and his natural seed, there were many outward privileges bestowed upon them, yet spiritual salvation was not ensured by it to them; and with regard to that, natural descent from Abraham, and circumcision, were of no avail: but this is to be understood of him, as a son of Abraham in a spiritual sense, he being now a believer in Christ, and so one that walked in the steps of the faith of Abraham; and this was an evidence of his interest in salvation by Christ, the blessing with which he was blessed, with faithful Abraham: and also his being a son of Abraham, which is no other than to be a child of the promise, ( Romans 9:8 ) or in other words, one of God's elect, a chosen vessel of salvation, was a reason why Christ, the author of salvation, came to him, why the Gospel of salvation was made known to him, and why the blessing of salvation was applied to him. The Jews use this phrase, not only of one whose natural descent is from Abraham, but whose knowledge in divine things is considerable: so when R. Eliezer ben Arach taught the Mercava, (the mystery of Ezekiel's visions),
``R. Jochanan ben Zaccai stood and kissed his head, and said, blessed art thou, O God of Israel, that has given (Mhrbal Nb) , "a son to Abraham", who has knowledge to understand, and to search out, and to explain the work of Mercava F4.''
For Abraham is said F5 to be a father in this sort of knowledge, for which reason, this man was genealogized a son of Abraham.
F4 T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 14. 2.
F5 Caphtor, fol. 69. 1.