When Jesus approached the tree, He looked up at Zaccheus and called him down. The Scriptures tell us he came down joyfully as Jesus had invited Himself over to dine with Zaccheus.
The crowds grumbled, of course, presuming Jesus was clueless about not only who Zaccheus was but his occupation. Tax collectors carried with them reputations of deep dishonesty and Zaccheus was not only a tax collector, but the chief of the tax collectors. He probably swindled wages owed to those working under him too.
The next scene is the salvation and complete proof of a true transformation in Zaccheus. He promised Jesus that he would return four times the amount he stole from people. Zaccheus recognized his sin immediately, and Jesus honors the repentance in Zaccheus' heart by stating to everyone present that salvation had come to this home. Jesus also reiterated the fact that His purpose was to save the lost.
How difficult life must have been for Zaccheus after he returned to work the next day as a changed man. He was still a tax collector despised by the people. What a humbling experience to now trace back every dishonest act against others and restore back to them what he stole. Now he would strive to do honest work, but carry with him the reputation of being a tax collector with people still assuming he was dishonest.
How gracious are we to those transformed by their encounter with Jesus and have repented? May we learn to open our eyes and love like Jesus those who strive to overcome their past by God's grace.