Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, April 4
  • Because He Lives (Amen)
  • Jesus Messiah
  • Raise A Hallelujah
  • You Love Me Anyway
  • 4 May 21
    Of Crowds & Scoundrels Pt. II
    Luke 19:1-10
    Turn to Luke 19 (NT). For those of you who perhaps missed last week’s message, this is Part 2 and so we’ll do a short review. Like I said last week - we’re in no hurry ….
    Luke 19:1–3 ESV
    He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.
    Jesus on His way to Jerusalem, - His final week before His crucifixion - His death.
    No one liked TCs. They were scoundrels and traitors - considered to be among the worst sinners of society.
    Double-entendre - he was physically short, but also short in respect. The crowd did not respect him - he wasn’t much of a man in their sight, so they prevented Zacchaeus from seeing Jesus.
    So we walked away last week with a few thoughts -
    1) Jesus often made room for scoundrels and traitors
    - as we’ll see in a moment. If you’re a scoundrel (all of us have been one time or another) - there’s room for you with Jesus. Doesn't matter what your “scoundrelness” is, Jesus has room for you, and He loves, and He wants to forgive you.
    Unfortunately, we tend to label people as scoundrels and traitors and so forth when so often we don’t know their story. So, I challenged us to identify
    2) Who are the traitors and scoundrels in your world? Do you know their story?
    Lastly, the crowd said, “This scoundrel doesn’t deserve to see Jesus.” They made sure he didn’t. Then I posed the question,
    3) Who deserves to see Jesus? Everyone.
    So that’s where we left off. Now, we could argue from God’s perspective that because of His holiness and His righteousness, and because of our sinfulness that no one deserves to see God. There’s truth to that - however, the flipside to that truth is the truth that God wants to be seen. He really wants to be known. He really wants to be in a real relationship with us. This is why we have Easter! This is why we have today - Resurrection Sunday! For God so loved the [scoundrels] …!
    Some may wonder, if God wants to be “seen,” and He wants us to know Him, then why is it sometimes so difficult to “see” Him or find Him? This story gives us a little insight. “Crowds” often hinder us from seeing or knowing Jesus. This crowd sabotaged Zacchaeus’s attempt to see Jesus. This is so true in our lives - we have a spiritual enemy that works to sabotage every attempt we make to see Jesus - especially when coming to Christ for the first time - “Yes, I want to believe and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Lord and savior.”
    It's not just a spiritual enemy that can get in our way. There is a lot of “crowds” in this world that can impede our seeing Jesus. Sin. Pride. People. Earthly desires. Fear. Self-preservation ….
    Curios -
    Got any “crowds” in your life preventing you from seeing or knowing Jesus?
    You want to see Him. You want to know Him, but it’s not happening. Maybe there is a “crowd” in the way. If all you're doing is staring at the crowd, whatever that might be you will struggle to see Jesus. Hebrews chapter 12 tells us to throw aside everything that hinders us and fix our eyes on Christ. Again, got any “crowds” blocking your view of Jesus?
    So, what do we do about these “crowds?” I’m sure there are several answers depending on what the “crowd” is, but here’s what Zacchaeus did.
    Luke 19:4 ESV
    So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.
    Zacchaeus found a way to see Jesus - he left the crowd. Reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 5, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off (metaphorically).” Some of us are having a hard time seeing or knowing Jesus because we're not willing to get away from the “crowd.”
    Interesting note - wealthy men in that day did not run. It was a sign of weakness, it was uncouth (socially unacceptable). Keep that in mind, because look what happened when a scoundrel got away from the crowd and did something that was very uncouth.
    And he made an effort to see Jesus,
    Luke 19:5–6 ESV
    And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.
    A couple of things here. First, Zacchaeus, a wayward Jew, ran ahead to see Jesus, but Jesus was one step ahead of him. Who was really seeking who? Reminds me of another story -
    Luke 15:20 ESV
    And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
    Zacchaeus was a prodigal and was received by Christ. If you’re a prodigal, and you run toward Jesus, He will run toward you. (This is why we have Easter - the cross is a beacon to all prodigals - come home!)
    Secondly, the crowd knew Zacchaeus as what? A TC - a scoundrel, a traitor, a label (much like the brother in the Prodigal parable). Jesus knew Zacchaeus as what? As Zacchaeus. Jesus knew His name! Didn’t call him by his occupation; by his sin; by his scandalous behavior. Didn’t slap a label on him (which sometimes I like to do). Jesus called him by name.
    Curios -
    Got any labels you carry around?
    Labels that other people have placed on you? Or maybe labels you’ve given yourself?
    When we come to Jesus, we are no longer called sinners, scoundrels or whatever label you think you have - we are each called by name by God. Again, this is accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ. In Hebrews 2 - we’re told that Christ suffered and died to bring many sons and daughters to glory - to bring us into the family of God. And God calls those who are saved (in Christ) sons and daughters and Jesus calls us brothers and sisters. Those in Christ are called saints.
    Something else to consider. Jesus could have stopped anytime and talked to anyone in the crowd. Why? Just my thought, but
    James 4:6–8 ESV
    But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
    What did Zacchaeus do? He humbled himself - he pursued Jesus, so what did Jesus do in response? What God always does when we humble ourselves before Him … “Hey, come here. Let’s sit down together …. Let me come into your house.” (Signifies friendship / relationship).
    Just something to think about - because …
    Luke 19:7 ESV
    And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
    “Seriously. Out of all the people in this town - all the good law-abiding citizens, Jesus picks him! Jesus is going to his house for lunch!”
    Here’s the crowd again - so self-righteous (they should have rejoiced)! Makes me wonder who was the real scoundrel?
    Curios -
    Been in any crowds lately?
    Luke 19:8 ESV
    And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
    What Zacchaeus did goes back to the Mosaic law - back in Leviticus and Numbers they had laws of restoration. So if you stole something or if you swindled somebody there was a formula of how much to pay back. Well Zacchaeus, because of his excitement and his new relationship with Christ went overboard in it way above and beyond. We could talk more about this but know that there was something about meeting Jesus that truly transformed Zacchaeus - he was a changed man as it should be when we meet Jesus.
    Luke 19:9–10 ESV
    And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
    What does that mean son of Abraham? The Jews prided themselves in their lineage to Abraham and they thought that that was enough for their own Salvation. But the Bible makes it clear that Salvation is through faith - says in the living God and in Jesus Christ his son.
    And so Zacchaeus, the scoundrel, the traitor, the outcast - the one whom the tribe voted off the island was reinstated by Christ. He said, “Yes, Zacchaeus, you’re back in!”
    Why was he back in? Because Jesus came to seek and save the scoundrels and traitors and outcasts and those who have been voted off the island. William Barclay wrote this -
    “The story ends with the great words, the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. We must always be careful how we take the meaning of this word lost. In the New Testament it does not mean damned or doomed.
    It simply means in the wrong place. A thing is lost when it has got out of its own place into the wrong place; and when we find such a thing, we return it to the place it ought to occupy.
    A person is lost when he or she has wandered away from God; and is found when once again that person occupies the rightful place as an obedient child in the household and the family of the Father” (W. Barclay).
    A challenge and a question and then we’re done.
    Challenge - To those of us who know Christ - how do we use the term lost? With compassion or condemnation?
    Question - Are you lost this morning? Just in the wrong place? Jesus says, “Come to me ….”
      • Luke 19:1–3NLT

      • Luke 19:4NLT

      • Luke 19:5–6NLT

      • Luke 15:20NIV2011

      • James 4:6–8NIV2011

      • Luke 19:7NIV2011

      • Luke 19:8NIV2011

      • Luke 19:9–10NIV2011

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