Delivered on 5/21/17
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Due to the corruption that human beings inherit by virtue of the original sin, all people, except Jesus, who was not born in Adam, are born with a moral inability to receive the Gospel faith.
This inability must be overcome by the Holy Spirit in His work of regeneration. Since the fall, human beings born in Adam are inclined against the things of God, and they will not and cannot place saving faith in the Gospel message unless the Lord Jesus first changes their hearts. God must give fallen people the ability to believe, and He does that only by His Will.
15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”
This afternoon, we will look into the life of a well-known tax collector named, Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus was no common tax collector, he was the boss, the head tax collector. Here we see a sinner who was curious to know…who is this Jesus Christ? Why are so many people following Him?
Was it in his best interest to know who Jesus is? Or was Zacchaeus being drawn to Jesus?
Let’s read the story, shall we…
19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
“fourfold”, meaning four times. “I will restore four times the amount.”
As you recall… if you are familiar with the story? When Jesus was approaching Jericho, he had an encounter with a blind man named Bartimaeus, a poor beggar from the lowest social class. Now, as we look at Luke 19:1, we see that Jesus is passing through Jericho on his final trip to Jerusalem, and comes in contact with Zacchaeus, a very wealthy government man, Chief tax collector!
From our text, let us look at three major facts.
1: A lost sinner 2: A Savior 3: Salvation
Let’s break down these passage, and look at each category:
19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
In verse two, we see that Zacchaeus was a man of some importance. His name in Hebrew means, “pure and righteous,” but he was not thought of as being anywhere close to righteous because of the job he had. As a tax collector, he worked for Rome and was considered a traitor by the Jewish people. The fact that he worked for the Roman IRS indicated to others that he was more interested in money than anything else.
Zacchaeus was more than just an IRS agent. He was a “chief” tax collector. He was incharge of all the agents and was able to take a “cut” of commission from those who collected taxes for him. He stood on top of the collection pyramid, stuffing his pockets with shekels before he sent the required taxes to Rome. If Rome charged a 5% tax, Zacchaeus may have collected 10% from the people. Because of that…from the last part of verse 2, he was wealthy.
Zacchaeus was a renegade in the eyes of the religious people. He would have been thought of as a high-level drug dealer today. In fact, in the minds of the people, tax collectors were often linked with murderers, adulterers, thieves, and other sinners. He was rich at the expense of others.
In verse 3 we notice that while Zacchaeus is a very wealthy and successful man, by the world’s standards, he knew something was missing. Even people today, if they are honest, will eventually admit that there’s more to life than just trying to make money and obtain possessions.
In our mindset, we think that the rich have it all. If their car breaks down, just buy a new one. They’ve grown tired of their house. Buy another one. Anything money can buy, they can, and will.
Do you remember a famous actor named Robin Williams? He was well known, great actor, one of my favorite, made everyone laugh, puts a smile on everyone’s face. Of-course…since he was famous, he was also rich! He can buy anything, except happiness, contentment, and more importantly…Jesus ( Salvation )
Robin Williams died by hanging himself in his home. Toxicology reports reveal antidepressants, caffeine, and levodopa, a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Battled depression for many years. A man who can make us laugh, but deep inside he was miserable. Something was missing…or Someone was missing. I guess it’s true…money can’t buy happiness!
Anyway… Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was. He wanted to figure out what it was that made Jesus different from everyone else. He was drawn to this Man who had just given sight to the blind beggar on the outskirts of Jericho. Now this healer was walking through his town. He may not have fully understood what was going on in his heart, but Zacchaeus had a desperate need to get to Jesus. He probably couldn’t even explain what drew him to see who Jesus was.
Zacchaeus just knew in his heart that he needed to see Jesus, and nothing…not the crowd was going to stop him.
Zacchaeus had at least two problems that day. The first was that he was a short man. I can relate, I hate going to concerts, and end up sitting behind a man who’s six feet tall. Great! I paid $30 dollars to see the back of his head. Or even in the movies, that’s why we always go to Imax, it doesn’t matter how big the person is in front of you… you’ll still get to see the movie clearly.
Zacchaeus was probably bouncing up and down on his tippy toes, trying to see above the taller guys in front of him. With all the crowds pressing in, there was no way for him to get close enough to Jesus. Everyone there had one goal, and that is to see Jesus.
His second problem was spiritual his sins were keeping him from Jesus…
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
Not only was Zacchaeus of short stature, he…like us, was not able to measure up to God’s standards. He came up short in a spiritual sense of ever entering into a relationship with God. He was short on integrity and tall on sin. A lot like you and I at one point!
Again… Zacchaeus was drawn…he was in Gods mission. God had a hold on Zacchaeus, and he could not fight it. Zacchaeus may be short, but he was smart, resourceful, and fast. Look at what he does…
4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
Zacchaeus was short, but he wasn’t slow! He ran ahead of the crowd, looking for a way that he could see Jesus. This picture is a bit funny, isn’t it? First of all, it would have been considered undignified for a rich man to run. Secondly, I don’t know about you, but it seems funny to me that this wealthy man would climb up a tree to see Jesus.
He probably snagged his cloak on some branches but it didn’t slow him down. Maybe he fell a couple times. ( No shoes, just sandals ) He was determined to see Jesus and didn’t care what others thought of his running or his climbing. Zacchaeus, wanted Jesus, and Jesus wanted him.
Zachaeus did not allow anything, not the crowd or his condition, to stand between him and his desire to see the Lord Jesus. What about you? Do you care enough about the condition of your soul to pay whatever price is necessary to be right with God? Are you willing to turn from that little pet sin? Are you ready to walk away from the crowd, in order to see Jesus? Are you ready to run to Him?
Now…let us look at The Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is it!!! The sinner meets his Savior. In our minds, we think it’s just Zacchaeus that’s doing the searching. Jesus was also looking for him…
5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
Jesus took note of Zacchaeus, although we are not told why. He stopped, looked up, called him by name, was there another account that they met before? Jesus called him by name! And told him that He must come to his house. Again…we see that while Jesus was on His way toward the Cross, he stops and ministers to a searching sinner. He knew where Zacchaeus was because He knew all about him and He was filled with compassion toward him.
This is how it always happens. Jesus makes the first move by coming to the dead sinner and offering life through Himself. We would never be able to come to Jesus unless we were drawn to Him first. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you”. ( John 15:16 ) And again, from our opening verse, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44)
He then gives Zacchaeus a two-fold command. “Make haste and come down”.Get out of the tree, Zacchaeus. Right now. “for today, I must stay at your house” There’s always a sense of urgency about following Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:2
2 For He says:
“In an acceptable time, I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Can you imagine, what must have been going through the minds of those who were walking with Jesus that day? How did Jesus know his name? Why did Jesus stop under that tree? Why did Jesus want this sinner to come down right away? Why Zacchaeus?
Why did Jesus express the necessity of going to the house of Zacchaeus? Why the “must”? The Pharisees and religious leaders would say that because Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector he was a “sinner.” Such a person should never be invited to your home.
Notice that Jesus invited Himself to dinner! This is the only instance in the 4 Gospels where we read of Jesus inviting Himself to someone’s home for a meal. Jesus must stay at his house because it pictures what His ministry is all about. He came to save sinners from their sins.
Now… the sinner, meets the Savior, or the Savior calls the sinner. Salvation is here. Zacchaeus will stand before Jesus, and will come to realize his sins, and needs to be forgiven.
After Jesus calls to him, Zacchaeus didn’t waste any time getting out of that tree. He was noticed, he was recognized by the Savior.
6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
Zacchaeus didn’t waste any time getting out of the tree. Verse 6 tells us. He came down right away and welcomed Jesus joyfully and with great excitement. He got way more than he asked for… he just wanted to get a closer look at the Savior but now He was coming over for dinner! He was overwhelmed with joy! All the hard work of jumping up and down, running, climbing a tree, Zacchaeus was now in the presence of Jesus.
Of course, when someone gets saved, opposition comes along with it. Jealousy, confusion, why Zacchaeus, his a chief tax collector, a sinner, why him?
7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
The crowd was confused about why Jesus was even talking to Zacchaeus, they now complain, when they figure out that Jesus has invited himself to dinner at Zacchaeus’s house. Notice that it wasn’t just some of the crowd. The text say’s “they all saw it, they all complained”. It may have even included the disciples. Keep in mind, many were following Jesus at this point.
Since we have just read the story, and know the story, do we also respond in a similar way?
What I mean is, if we were there…keep in mind we’re all sinners saved by grace. If we were in that same crowd, and Jesus called out someone from the Catholic faith to come, how would we feel. Or someone from a Pentecostal church, Seventh day, Presbyterian church and so on. Will we also feel the same way? I mean to their belief they also will go to heaven, will receive forgiveness.
Let’s be honest here, every church that I had just mentioned, our church included thinks were right. Our belief is right, theirs is wrong. To them, their right, we’re wrong. But one thing remains to be true. Only Jesus can save. We cannot decide who that will be. That’s how the crowd looked at Zacchaeus, even the disciples. Why him? Why me? Why you?
Let’s continue with the story, Zacchaeus will now see who he really is. Zacchaeus was greatly impacted by the call on his life. Because of what he is about to say, I think we can safely conclude that Zacchaeus was converted during that visit. He knew he was a sinner and had come to the Savior for salvation. His conversion is clear because of the life-change we see.
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
Luke 19:8 (NIV)
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.”
Zacchaeus was not trying to negotiate a contract with Jesus or just trying to slide by the sins that he has committed. He was fully sold out to Christ. Zacchaeus was standing in front of Perfection. He knew who he was, and what he has done. Jesus had changed his heart and now he wanted to demonstrate that change through his actions. His decision was voluntary and flowed out of a heart of gratitude for what Christ had done for him. Whenever Jesus meets someone there is change. If you’ve never changed, it may be because you haven’t truly been saved. Change is the proof of a saved…forgiven life. Not what church you go to.
Zacchaeus, basically stood in front of everybody, called Jesus 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.” That is the voice of one who wants to repent!
Zacchaeus public confession shows the sincerity of his repentance and was his way of living out Romans 10:10…
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
As part of his repentance, Zacchaeus wants to right his wrong. Biblical repentance always goes hand-in-hand with restitution because conversion is a radical life-changing event. He’s now a different man, a changed man, so he declares that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and will make restitution at four times the amount he swindled. The man who had felt small his whole life, and had treated others as if they were small, suddenly becomes a “big” man.
The mark of Zacchaeus transformation and conversion was his staggering generosity. He learned the truth quickly that it is impossible to serve both God and money. Before he met Jesus his money was everything to him. After his conversion, money, possession took a back seat and became something to be given away.
Albert Schweitzer, A Lutheran, French-German Theologian once said…
“If you own something that you cannot give away, then you don’t own it, it owns you.”
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Zacchaeus recognized his sins, and was willing to let them go. He was forgiven, he didn’t want to hold on to the thing that made him sin. He was a changed man! He knew who he was, the sins he committed, he knew Who this person was, that was standing in front of him, (Jesus) and He was forgiven, SAVED!
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
The mission of Jesus is very clear: He came to seek and save what was lost. Jesus is still on a search and save mission. He is seeking out people who need to be saved. If you’ve never been saved from your sins, you need to know that Jesus is pursuing you even if you are not pursuing Him. He wants to have a relationship with you. If you have been saved, and you’re still holding on to your sins, be like Zacchaeus and let it go. That is how you will know that you’ve truly been saved. Continue to be changed, don’t keep holding on to your sins, Christ died for you, to save you!
From the story of Zacchaeus, we can see four things that he went through that may have an impact in our lives today.
1: He was curious. He wanted to know who Jesus was.
2: He considered the claims about Jesus to be true. He was drawn to Jesus.
3: He was converted, He saw his sins, and the Savior saved, and forgave him.
4: His life radically changed, and redirected by the Savior.
We all go through these, at one point or another. That’s why Jesus came, to seek, to save, to forgive, to change your life, my life, and make it new. Is Jesus living within you or do you just let Him visit once in a while? If He has taken up residence, have you been denying Him access to some of the areas in your life? Or are you fully surrendered? It’s hard, I know, but it has to start somewhere, and needs to continue. Going back is not an option.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
God decides, God chooses, and those He chose, He bought by the blood of His Son.
Pastor Richard Santos
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