St. Luke's Church Faribault
- Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us
- Whiter Than Snow
- Jesus Only Jesus
- Today’s sermon text is from Luke 19, verses 1 to 10. It is on page ____ of the worship Bible. This is the story of Zaccheus.Probably almost everyone here knows this story right? We probably even know the song right? In fact let’s sing it this morning.SongTitle slidepray1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 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.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”Is that story familiar to most of you? If you have spent anytime at all around church this story is familiar for several reasons. It is almost comical, there is this short guy who climbs a tree. It is a favorite of Sunday School Teachers, there is that song that sticks in your head. And preachers like to preach it.Often the story is told like this. There is a short guy by the name of Zaccheus. He is a chief tax collector. He is too short to see Jesus-poor little Zaccheus. But Zaccheus is desperate for Jesus the teachers tells us, so he climbs a tree so that he can just get a look at Jesus. Jesus is passing by and he happens to look up and there is poor little Zaccheus, and Jesus says I’m coming to your house today.We cheer. The teacher points out that you are not too short for Jesus. You just have to climb a tree, and Jesus will see you, and ask to come to your house.That’s great- But here is the deal, I love you enough that I want to tell you the real story. There is a real danger for those that come to church all the time. Bet you didn’t know that? But yes coming to church all the time can put us in spiritual danger. For hose that have grown up in Sunday School, the danger is that we become familiar with Church, and these iconic stories, and we think in our head that we have it figured out, and we don’t actually listen to what the Holy Spirit has for us. We miss what is really going on.Let me explain it this way, as a teenager, I gave my mom fits. I would assume I knew what she was going to say, and I would end up not really listening to her. For instance, Mom would say Greg, I need you to bring the groceries in they are in the trunk of the car, and out the door I would go. Sometime later my Mom would say, where is the milk butter and eggs? Why aren’t they in the fridge? I would say I didn’t see those? She would say Greg, they were in the backseat. I told you to get the groceries out of the trunk and the milk butter and eggs in the backseat. I assumed I knew the whole story, so I stopped listening before she got to the part about the rest of the groceries in the back seat. Truth be told I still do that-pray for Jayne.This happens with these familiar Bible passages. We assume that we remember the Sunday School lesson, or what the preacher said a few years ago, but maybe we didn’t hear everything that was said. Or we missed it, and we only remember part of the story.. As a result our head turns off, because we think we know it. What happens is we miss what God has for our hearts, the real transforming work of the Gospel never gets through, and miss out on an opportunity for God to grow us.So let me invite you to listen to what God is saying in his word this morning with fresh ears, and an open heart.The story open in verse 1 with Jesus passing through Jericho.Jericho is a city approximately 10 miles Southwest of the Dead Sea. Jericho appears in the Old Testament often as a memorial of military victory.You may remember the story of Jericho found in Joshua Chapter 6. There is a song about that also, right? The Israelites marched around the city in a procession, then God, by His mighty Hand brought down the walls.According to Scholar Beitzel, and I quote him here. “Archaeological excavations reveal that Jericho was violently destroyed sometime toward the end of the Bronze Age. The walls seem to have been thrown down by sudden force, as if by an earthquake.”God brought down the walls of Jericho.Ok back to our story, so Jesus enters Jericho, and there is quite a commotion. Jesus has been performing many miracles. Word of his ministry has spread like wildfire, and crowds came out to see him.The crowds were probably looking fo the kingdom of God to come. We know this because a few verses after this story, Luke tells us that people were anticipating that Jesus the Messiah, the new king, would overthrow the Romans and bring in his kingdom,.11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.If this new kingdom is coming, people want to see, and as Luke says in verse 2...2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.In this crowd was a very wealthy man by the name of Zaccheus. He was a chief tax collector. The Romans would have tax collectors working for them. They would collect the tax money for the Roman government from their fellow jewish brothers and sisters. They would charge each person a little extra than the tax that was due to pay their salary.A chief tax collector was the boss, and he would collect a little of the pay of the tax collectors under him. Kinda like a pyramid scheme. I guess they must have learned that in Egypt—sorry couldn’t resist. Oh come on that’s funny.And he is extremely wealthy. If we reading through Luke we would know how wealth can keep people from God. In the chapter before this one In Luke chapter 18, starting at verse 18 is another time a rich man met Jesus.18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”It doesn’t look good for Zaccheus. He has about as much chance as a Camel getting through the eye of a needle.And if that isn’t enough- tax collectors were hated by their countrymen for collecting taxes plus the extra, most of them were corrupt, and for this sin most of them were no longer even considered jews, but were referred to as traitors.3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.So there is Zaccheus, the outsider, the traitor. He is no longer any part of his people because of his sin of pride and wealth and greed. And if the kingdom is going to be overthrown, a new kingdom is coming. He might even figure he may lose his lucrative business, or worse yet, what might the new king do to him? So he wants to see what this commotion is about.But he can’t see Jesus, and the crowd is not going to let him in, because they hate him. You can almost here the taunts right-get lost Zacchaeus. ANd that’s what happens Zacchaeus get’s lost-spiritually.It is as if the fans of Jesus are like a wall to him, and he cannot even see the kingdom of God that has come to Jericho that day.We have to wonder, is there any hope. He seems to have everything going against him is there some way any way?There might be. After the encounter with the rich man in Luke 18, Jesus meets someone else who can’t see him.35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”So, we have a rich man whose went away because his wealth kept him from Jesus, then another man by the side of the road that can’t see, and cries out for mercy and now Zaccheus.4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.He climbed a tree which must mean at least to some degree he humbled himself. For him a wealthy business man to climb up a tree it was in at least some ways being made low. it would have been degrading, but he did it.Luke doesn’t leave us with a whole lot to go on. I mean we know he wanted to see Jesus that is it. SO do all those other people on the the side of the road. We know he is sinner, an outcast. We know he has about zero chance of being part of the kingdom, the same chance as a camel going through the eye of a needle. About the only thing that will save Zaccheus is...well a miracle.Becasue as Jesus said, at the end of the rich young ruler story27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”He needs a God that will miraculously save him. He needs a God that can do the impossible. He needs a God that can bring down walls of a city with a shout, and who can heal a blind man. He just needs Jesus to stop, and Jesus stopped for that blind man in Luke 18, when he cried for mercy.40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”And now Jesus stops for Zaccheus.5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”When Jesus reaches Zacchaeus he issues a command. Come Down-I must stay at your house today. Notice this isn’t optional. It is a command. Not hey there would you like to come down , and may I stay at your house. No, it is come down, I must stay at your house.Jesus came and found Zacchaeus. He sought him out, and commanded him to come down.The key verse is not the Verse the Zacchaeus climbed a tree, but rather the key verse is at the end of the passage- Luke 19:9 and 10 says9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”The passage isn’t about Zacchaeus, or his height. It is about Jesus. It is about Jesus seeking out and saving the lost. It is about God doing the impossible saving someone who cannot save themselves. It is that Christ seeks and saves the lost. It is that God brings down the walls it is about God making the blind see.This is why Jesus came-to seek and to save those that are lost. There are the Lost parables in Luke 15, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son. We like to make it about us, climb a tree and Jesus will come to your house even though you are short. But if anything it is about Zacchaeus escaping judgement---The parable that follows this passage is the parable of the kingdom. It has rich imagery of the kingdom of God, and the phrase used here to describe Jesus the Son of Man also carries with it a lot of kingdom imagery and Jesus as the judging king. That description of Jesus as the Son of Man is the most popular way Jesus refers to himself. It is from Daniel 7, 13 and 14.13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.Jesus will one day judge Zacchaeus for His sins. His sins of pride, and greed. One day Zacchaeus like all of us, will have to stand before the king. There will be no room for pride before the creator. Because no matter self sufficient, or how great we think we are here one day when we are faced with the mighty presence of the one who created heaven and earth, those walls will crumble like sand. our spiritual blindness we be lifted and we will see Jesus as he truly is.We will realize that it is impossible to save ourselves, and that we have about as much chance as a camel passing through the eye of a needle.But the miracle has come, Jesus has come. He lived a life without without pride, the Bible says he humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. He conquered greed, the Bible says the son of man did not have a place to lay his head. He won those temptations, yet he still died for the greedy and the prideful, he paid the price and suffered the wrath of God for our sins. When we are humble enough to meet Jesus and come to Him alone for the forgiveness of those failings- it is exhibited by a genuine change a genuine transformation.Let’s look at the rest of the passage, and look at what has happened to Zacchaeus.6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.He welcomed Jesus gladly! With joy. Knowing that this might cost him his job-and his wealth-He welcomed him gladly. He responded to the command of Jesus, no matter what the cost. And not grudgingly!The Zacchaeus exhibits true repentence. True repentence is not just confession-That is admitting your wrongs. I confess that I stole. Confession is admitting to a past act. It is not penance, either. Which is self-inflicted punishment for a wrong. I was mean to someone so now I will punish myself by giving alms or praying or kneeling.True repentence, is different than those. True repentence is a change of mind-and heart. I was going this way, I’m now going a new way.8 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.”He now gives half of His possessions to the poor. Presumably that is the wealth he acquired legitimately. So now- instead of accumulating, he giving away, that is complete change of heart and mind. And it doesn’t stop there, and for those he cheated, he going to pay back 4 times the amount. This is above and beyond what the law requires. He is not doing penance or punishing himself He is going above and beyond because he has a complete change of heart and and mind.And According to the Anchor Yale Bible Encyclopedia, Zacchaeus will later become the bishop of Caesarea.The danger that I eluded to earlier is that we keep this story for us, in that Sunday School framework, and incorporate into our lives. There were large crowds that day watching Jesus come to Jericho. And salvation came to Zacchaeus’s house.The physical walls were down in the city but their were spiritual walls. Oh they liked having Jesus there. They all came out to see Jesus and his miracles, they were looking forward to him making things better, but they were not interested in true repentance.In fact they wanted to keep the walls up.7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”These days churches can get to a point where they really like the idea of Jesus. They make it more about the invitation rather than the salvation. We only sing the first verse of Zacchaeus while the second verse talks about the salvation. Truth is I have never even heard the second verse.Here it isA sinful heart was certainly changedWhen Jesus the Lord passed byHe wants to change your sinful heart tooThis is truth you cannot denyIf you desire to see the LordThe Bible tells the wayFor it says believe Christ died for youHe will come into your heart todayYes He'll come into your heart to stayPeople can become great fans of Jesus, you will never hear that a church doesn’t like Jesus. In fact they hope that Jesus does something for them, makes their world better, and more comfortable.Yet at the same time no one likes the idea of real repentence. Churches can build up walls that do not allow the outcasts the sinners, the traitors to see Jesus. Well it is ok if a sinner helps themselves right? Oh its ok if the sinner climbs a tree and goes to great lengths, then maybe, but not if it interferes with their view. What we need is more sinners to help themselves.They are complaining that Jesus is going to be with the one guy in the story who repented, and the crowd in their pride do not even see that they are sinners too, and just in need of repentence as the outcast.Jesus’s mission was clear. He said repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Luke 19:10 The son of man came to seek and save the lost.John 20:31-But these are written that you may believe x that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.And Jesus has passed this ministry on to us. Jesus still does the saving but we provide the means. Matthew 28:19 therefore Go and make disciples.If pride and trust in your own abilities have been a wall between you and trusting in Christ alone, today is the day of salvation, turn from your sins and toward Jesus, trust in alone, and receive Him as your king.
- Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
- By His Grace
- I Have Decided To Follow Jesus
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