Luke 19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Unmerited means not deserved. Therefore, grace is the undeserved favor of God. If you grew up in church, I know you remember singing, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.” Y’all remember him. He was the little bitty tax collector dude that heard Jesus was coming to town, and He wanted to see who Jesus was. He was too short to see over the crowd so he climbed up a tree. Sounds to me like he might’ve been from around these parts. Jesus saw Zacchaeus in that tree, and told him to come down because He was going to his house that very day.
That little dude wasn’t just a tax collector. He was the chief tax collector. Tax collectors in that time period were scoundrels. They were lower than low. They stole from people and cheated people, and they were considered to be sinners. Zacchaeus was the chief sinner! Yet Jesus, full of love and grace, called him down and said, “Come on little fellow. I want to spend some time with you today.” Jesus could’ve ignored this scoundrel. He could’ve kept on walking. But He didn’t. He met Zacchaeus right where he was and showed him undeserved favor. He showed him grace.
As I look back and remember all the times in my life that I sinned, I realize how many times my good, good Father met me right where I was and gave me grace. All I can do is praise Him! I don’t deserve the blessings God has bestowed upon me. I’ve done nothing to deserve His grace. But He chose me, and He chose you. He found favor in us despite ourselves and our sins. That is grace. We can’t do anything to earn it, but He bestows it upon us because He loves us!