Luke 19:1-10

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Salvation given freely to All

Thank you once more Dr Loper. Let us pray. I want us to turn our Bibles to the book of Like 19:1-10
I am sure must of us are familiar with the song about Zacchaeus being a wee little man and it is somewhat interesting to note that that is what most people remember or know about Zacchaeus. He was a wee little man, he climbed a tree to see Jesus and Jesus told him to come down for He was going to his house.
But I want to tell you that the story of Zacchaeus is much deeper than what children are taught. The more I read the text the more I remember when I use to think if God would really save me. Because there was time when my life have been full of sin, there are times that I have brought shame to my family with my sin and all these times I have wondered if maybe God was ready to cast me off and forget about me. Our passage today has an answer for that.
I've had to make things right in my life on occasion. I had to go to people and try to make things right. In this chapter, Zacchaeus is pictured carrying out the same action.
How about your personal life? Have you ever felt the need to sin and questioned God's ability to save you? Have you ever had to confront a person you mistreated to make amends? The Zacchaeus episode is one you absolutely must hear if you've ever been in that situation.
In the text for this morning, Jesus encounters a terrible sinner. He is a wealthy tax collector who has taken advantage of people. None of that, however, prevents Jesus from extending a hand to Zacchaeus. Jesus actually visits Zacchaeus' house. Why would Jesus’ act in this manner? Because he wants to impart a crucial lesson to those around him. Jesus came to save sinners, and that is a crucial lesson to learn.
Verses 1&2 tells us
now there are several things that we need to explore as we look at the setting of this story and the first is about tax collectors especially those that lived a couple of thousand years ago and then also because this is a central part of the story we need to talk a little bit about short people as well.. in every culture from long ago to the present day the taxman has been disliked and distrusted. the new testament indicates that the occupation of the tax collector was looked down upon by everyone . zacchaeus was called the chief tax collector and so by that we know that he was in charge of a large geographical area and had many other tax collectors reporting to him which means that he was also getting commission from them on what they collected making him an extremely wealthy man. the pharisees communicated their disdain for tax collectors in one of their earlier confrontations with Jesus as recorded in mark chapter 2 verses 15 and 16. so let me read those for you the lord was eating a meal with many tax collectors and sinners for there were many who followed him and when the pharisees noticed this they asked his disciples why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners you see to a pharisee a sinner was any jew who was not obeying the mosaic law now there are a few reasons for their very low view of tax collectors first nobody likes to pay money to the government right. especially more so when it's a government like the roman empire who was as oppressive as they were in the first century
those who collected the taxes for such a government have become the enemies of the people
second the tax collectors in the bible were Jewish people who were working for the roman government that had conquered and enslaved the land of Israel these individuals were seen as traitors to their own country rather than fighting their roman oppressors the tax collectors were actually helping them and then becoming rich by doing it at the same time.
third it was common knowledge that the tax collectors cheated the people from whom they collected the taxes they had to collect a certain amount and turn it in but if they could get more, they would get it and keep it for themselves . Zacchaeus even mentioned in verse 8 in his confession to the lord he talked about his past dishonesty.
and then fourth because of their skimming off the top the tax collectors were very rich so this further separated them from the common people who not only resented their taxes going to help this foreign country enslave them but also that these people were getting rich at their expense so to sum it up the tax collectors were the low of the low the scum of the earth and the only friends that they had were other tax collectors
Verses 3-4
Zacchaeus sought to see who Jesus was. The Greek word “sought” is an imperfect verb; the idea of the imperfect is repeated action in the past. He could not see Jesus, for he was short. Being short by ancient Mediterranean standards likely means that he is less than 5 feet tall.
it is important to this story that we know that Zacchaeus was a short man in order for him to be able to see Jesus in a crowd he had to climb into a tree but i think there was more to this climbing a tree than just being above the crowd. i mean couldn't he have just walked to the front kind of squeezed through the crowd and stood in front of everybody and be able to see Jesus?
so, what might another reason be for climbing a tree, well first of all we need to remember
the details of the story the bible doesn't just say that Zacchaeus climbed just any tree it says that he climbed a sycamore tree and as i studied this week i found out the reason for that is because sycamore trees can grow anywhere between forty and a hundred feet that's four to ten
stories tall so Zacchaeus would certainly be able to see over the crowds but you're thinking
well how would a small man be able to climb into a tree that large well another thing i found out is that the sycamore tree has branches that start out very low to the ground
so now we know why he might climb into the tree to see over people but what else
the sycamore tree is a very leafy tree the most common tree in the land of Israel is the olive tree but it has very small leaves and the sycamore tree we're told has very
thick leaves that would hide somebody. So you see Zacchaeus wasn't just interested in
seeing over the crowd he didn't want the crowd to see him because they hated him
and so being up in that tree would hide him as well as allowing him to be able to see over the crowd
Verse 5
Jesus tells Zacchaeus to make haste and come down.
Jesus' actions in this instance are unusual. No matter how well-connected you were, you wouldn't typically invite yourself over to someone else's house. Pious Jews wouldn't go into a tax collector's house, and you wouldn't eat his meal. Jesus is giving two examples: First, Jesus has important matters to attend to at Zacchaeus' house. Second, Zacchaeus and every other person, the "unmentionable" have true worth in God's eyes.
Verse 6
Zacchaeus is obedient to Jesus and makes haste to welcome him. Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus with joy. Why not? The Lord of heaven and earth–the One who can give salvation–has accepted him and is willing to go to his home.
Verse 7
“They” are the people of the crowd mentioned at verse 3. They accuse Jesus of going to be the guest of a man who was a sinner. putting it in perspective , going to someone’s home meant that you shared in his sins. Jesus, on the other hand, is demonstrating how much He cares about Zacchaeus.
Verse 8
We see Zacchaeus putting his repentance into practice. Zacchaeus gave half his goods to the poor. If Zacchaeus had taken anything by false accusation, he would restore it fourfold. There is some discussion as to what exactly Zacchaeus means here. The Greek could actually be translated: “Since I have defrauded people . . . .” Or, he might mean that he has to look back at records before he knows and he’ll make restitution if he has defrauded anyone. I personally think that Zacchaeus has defrauded people, and he’s going to make that right, but either way, it’s a great example of true repentance.
One indicator to show how truly repentant Zacchaeus is, the Old Testament only required 20 percent when restitution was necessary. Only when a Jew stole an animal that he could not restore was he required to pay fourfold; on the other hand, if he was caught with the stolen animal, he only had to pay double. Zacchaeus has a truly repentant heart.
verses 9-10:
Most Jewish people believed that salvation came by virtue of being a Jew, unless you excluded yourself by some horrible crime. Tax collectors would have excluded themselves in the opinion of most Jews. Jesus is saying, “This man’s heart is right. He is a descendant of Abraham. Salvation has come to his home.”
Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. Jesus’ mission on this earth was all about finding folks like Zacchaeus and redeeming them.
Jesus came to save sinners. That is a statement of truth straight from the mouth of Jesus in our text. However, Zacchaeus had to act to make that a reality in his own life. In other words, Zacchaeus had to act in order to receive the salvation Jesus was offering. Let’s think about what Zacchaeus did and how we can follow his example.
Zacchaeus made Jesus a priority.
He didn’t try to find Jesus over the heads of the taller people and then give up. He kept seeking Jesus. As we mentioned, the Greek term “sought” at verse 3 means that Zacchaeus kept on seeking.
Jesus must be a priority. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33). I fear that too often we don’t make Jesus a priority. We’ll give lip service to loving Jesus, of serving Him. But, we’re easily distracted in the course of our lives.
Here’s how we can correct that:
Examine your own life to see what keeps you from making Jesus a priority. Is there some TV show that keeps you from spending time in Scripture and prayer? Are you so bogged down with worry that you cannot adequately focus on spiritual matters? Are you so busy at work or at home that your spiritual life is suffering? Spend time this week making Jesus a priority. Spend at least a half hour each day this week in Bible study and prayer. Be here when the church meets for Bible study and worship.
Zacchaeus made an effort to get to Jesus.
Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to find Jesus.
Is there effort you need to put forth in order to come to Jesus? Is there a sin you are struggling with and need to put away from you? Is there more effort you need to put forward to serve other people? Is there more effort you need to put forth to be more faithful in your worship ?
Zacchaeus made things right.
He promises to make restitution for defrauding folks.
Repentance always involves putting things as right as we can. When Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John, he told them, “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt 3:8)–In other words, show your repentance in your actions. Jesus says for us to make things right before we come to worship (Matt 5:23-24).Make your wrongs right this week. Is there fruit of repentance you need to bear? Is there someone to whom you need to make amends?
To conclude, the Zacchaeus story is one of those scriptural passages that speak to humanity in our depraved, sinful and hopeless condition. The human family today is divided into two groups. Zacchaeus represents the second group who are always judged and condemned by their fellow human beings because of their job, race, physical stature, material success, citizenship, etc. Most often, many people in this group, just like Zacchaeus, are more concerned with their salvation over the oppression and humiliations of the society. On the other hand, the first group is represented by the self-proclaimed righteous people, who grumbled at the instance when Jesus ordered Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree in vs. 7. Most people in this group, I assume are the regular church-goers in our time. They are either the ordained ministers or committed church members. These people deceive themselves and other people around them that they are the chosen, the right people. But among them are racists, greedy politicians, selfish and wicked people that make the human condition deplorable, loathsome and unworthy of life. However, just as Jesus was accompanied by the grumblers (19:7) when he encountered Zacchaeus, he will be accompanied by hypocrites and impostors as he meets the persecuted and forgotten brethren in the margins of the societies.
but then the religious leaders saw jesus acting friendly with a tax collector the chief tax collector and they all
murmured he's going to be the guest of a man who's a sinner and they all murmured
now this is the only place in the new testament that i can think of where we're told they all murmured
we read in some places where scribes and pharisees murmured because jesus healed somebody
sabbath we read about the sadducees murmuring because jesus got in the way of their
politics even sometimes the common people murmured you remember the story of when
the people said this little girl has died and jesus said she's only asleep and they murmured
but here it says they all murmured the scribes the pharisees the herodians the
zealots maybe even john the baptist disciples possibly even jesus's disciples
everybody was murmuring he has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner
they all grumbled he has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner
if you can understand why they grumble and why they're upset then i think you'll begin to understand
the very heart of the gospel the people were upset for a very basic
reason all jews were hoping for a messiah to save them from their oppressors and many
of them were hoping that jesus was that person he was in the territory where john the baptist had been publicly proclaiming
jesus as the coming messiah even zacchaeus was very impressed by jesus and had gone ahead of the crowds
and climbed into a tree just to see jesus maybe hopefully to see him performing a
miracle the people were expecting the messiah and specifically they were expecting the
messiah who would conquer evil and evil doers maybe even evil nations
and we'll soon see how jesus did not fulfill those expectations let's go back a few chapters to luke
chapter 3 and i'm going to read two verses to you the first one is verse 15.
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