But Jesus was a different kind of holy man and teacher. We have already seen that Jesus did not seek to keep apart from sinners. He also did not turn sinners away. Jesus did not abuse sinners, single them out for condemnation, or avoid them. Rather, he was a teacher who spoke words of comfort and grace to them, a teacher who showed them such respect, honor, and love that many of them responded by happily turning away from their sin. This, of course, was what happened in the life of Zacchaeus. Grace and mercy are a far more effective means of creating love and devotion than condemnation. A new affection for Christ has a much greater power to drive out sin and bring lasting repentance than any sermon on moral improvement, or any program for straightening out one’s life.
- Jerram Barrs, Learning Evangelism from Jesus, p. 102