Pictures of Faith on the Way to the Cross
(previously, A Curious Sinner Sought Out By Jesus & Saved: an example of what saving faith looks like)
Introduce Text: The story of Zaccheus (context) begins prior to Lk. 19.
- Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem.
- Along the way he has been healing and teaching his disciple, the Pharisees, and the crowds.
- Lk. 17:11-19—Jesus was passing through a certain village where he was met by 10 lepers who cried out to him, “Master, have mercy on us.”
- Jesus healed all 10, but only 1 returned to thank him.
- Lk. 18:1-8—Jesus tells a parable about an unjust judge and an importunate (persistent) widow.
- Before He even begins to tell the story He tells us the purpose of it—“Men ought always to pray and not to loose heart.” (1)
- The widow kept coming to the judge
- She said, “Avenge (give justice) me of mine adversary.”
- His conclusion to this parable was, “And shall not God avenge (give justice) his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” (Lk. 18:7-8a)
- Lk. 18:9-14—Jesus tells a parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
- This he said to those which trusted in themselves that they were righteous (Lk. 18:9)
- The publican (tax-collector) cried out, “God be merciful to me [the] sinner.” (Lk.18:13)
- Lk. 18:15-17—Jesus commends the simple faith of little children.
- “Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Lk. 18:17)
- Lk. 18:18-30—Jesus addresses a question from a rich, young ruler
- He asks, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (18)
- Jesus turns him to keeping the Law
- He claims to have kept all of the Law from his youth
- Jesus asks for the man’s treasure (give to the poor). Basically He wants to know if he is willing to sacrifice this world’s goods in order to follow Him.
- The man went away sorrowful b/c he was very rich.
- Jesus notes, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter the kingdom of God!...” (24-25)
- Who can be saved? (26)
- “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (27)
- Lk. 18:31-34—Jesus speaks of His death
- This is the third time.
- The disciples did not understand Him
- Lk. 18:35-43—Upon entering the city of Jericho Jesus heals a blind man
- Matthew speaks of 2 blind men as Jesus went out of the city
- Mark speaks of 1 blind man named Bartemaeus healed as Jesus went out of the city
- Luke locates the miracle prior to His entering the city
- It’s difficult to sort this out, but we don’t need to worry about it
- We have it in this order in Luke and have no reason to question it veracity
- The blind man heard a multitude of people coming by
- He asked what was happening
- He was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by
- This blind man says something no one else said and Jesus didn’t question or correct his statement
- He cried out “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” (37)
- Some rebuked him and told him to be quiet
- He cried out all the more, “Thou son of David, have mercy on me”
- Jesus addresses him
- the man answered
- Jesus healed him
- The man began to glorify God and the people entered in to his praise.
- Lk. 19:1-10—Jesus enters Jericho and meets Zaccheus
I. Zacchaeus Being Curious (1-4)
a. The crowd entered the city rejoicing in the power of God displayed in the healing of the blind man
b. Zacchaeus, a publican (tax-collector) hears and sees the commotion but cannot see who or what is at the center of it all.
i. A wealthy man – similar to the rich, young ruler
ii. A noted sinner – a social outcast
1. note the Pharisee and the Publican
2. Luke 18:9-14
iii. He was physically challenged
1. However, just as the blind man had done (curiosity and a loud mouth) Zaccheaus used what resources he had (curiosity and a tree)
2. Not trying to be seen but to see
II. Zacchaeus Called Out (5-7)
i. Hindered by height
ii. Rejected by society
iii. His only help was a sycamore tree and a strong sense of curiosity
a. Jesus came to the place
b. Jesus looked up and saw him
i. What did Jesus see?
ii. Did He see what all the others saw?
iii. Was He annoyed by this distraction like the others were annoyed by the little children and the shouting blind man?
1. Where the crowed saw a “goat”, Jesus saw a lost “sheep.”
2. Where the crowed saw a wicked, cheating, lying, stealing, miserable sinner, Jesus saw the reason why He was on His way to Jerusalem.
c. Jesus spoke to him
i. Not, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
ii. Not, “Come down here, right now, give back what you stole and more, apologize to everyone and then I want to speak with you I private.”
iii. But, “Quick, come down. I must stay at your house today.” (5)
1. This was not a request, nor was it a command
2. But it was a statement of necessity.
3. What a new way of being addressed this was for Zacchaeus.
4. Everyone else hated, and despised him.
5. This man spoke kindly to him.
d. The crowed grumbled. They were side-stepped. They were inconvenienced.
III. Zacchaeus Converted (8-10)
a. What happened during that brief visit in the home of Zacchaeus? What did they say to each other?
b. We don’t know what was said.
c. Here’s what happened as a result.
i. Zacchaeus stood before the crowd. Stood in order to make a public statement.
ii. Before the entire town as his witnesses he committed to do what the rich, young ruler found impossible to do. He vowed to give half of his goods to the poor.
iii. Beyond that, he vowed to restore four times the amount of everything he owed to those whom he had cheated.
iv. He was willing to give up al that had been dear to him.
d. Jesus affirmed for us what happened “over tea” that afternoon:
i. This day is salvation come to this house.
ii. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
A popular preacher has summarized this story with these comparisons b/w Zacchaeus and Jesus:
· Zacchaeus ran ahead to see Jesus. But Jesus was already walking to the Jerusalem so that Zacchaeus could be saved.
· Zacchaeus stood up and announced that he would give up half his wealth to the poor. But Jesus had already chosen to give up his very life for Zacchaeus.
· Zacchaeus promised to pay back all those he had stolen from. But Jesus, who was without sin, chose to pay for sins that he did not commit.
· Zacchaeus climbed up a tree to see Jesus. But Jesus hung on a cross so that Zacchaeus could have eternal life.
The lepers did what they could by crying out for Jesus. All were healed physically, but one was made whole by faith.
The Publican in the temple humbled himself and went to his house justified by grace through faith.
The blind man did what he could by shouting out persistently (just as the widow) and was healed and saved to glorify God.
It wasn’t Zacchaeus’ curiosity that saved him, it was Jesus who sought him out and saved him.
This morning Jesus is seeking more of his lost sheep. For some of you, climbing a tree was coming here this morning out of curiosity. For others it may be asking some questions of a Christian friend. For others it may be taking a Bible and reading and considering its message.
No matter which “tree” you climb, you will be opening yourself up to criticism. You may be spotted. You may be mocked or laughed at by cruel, unbelieving people.
It seems that all Zacchaeus wanted was to see what the cause of all the commotion was. Where was the blind man and who was this that healed him? He figured that he would be mocked for climbing the tree, but they hated him anyway. What he never expected was the eternal benefit he gained from being found by the Savior.