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Jesus Meets a Tree Climber

 

Jesus meets a Tree Climber

Luke 19:1-10                                                                      click here for audio

 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. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 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. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 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.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Notes on message…..

v.1   He entered Jericho and was passing through

He (Jesus)…. Last time…   two Jericho’s    old/new      He healed Bartimaeus of his blindness and because of his faith He gave Him salvation……  Jesus was in the midst of a crowd…..many were crowding around Jesus…..great expectations… Messiah… heading toward Jerusalem…Passover week is coming……..Untold numbers of Jewish Pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem…..through Jericho was the route to get to Jerusalem….

And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.

Jericho was known to be a tax collecting location…..and Zach -  “chief”  tax collector;   He wasn’t just a tax collector;  he was “chief”…..he had others working under him…….   Rome occupied Palestine and they collected taxes from the Jews….. Roman government would sell  “tax collecting” business to Jews,  who in turn,   would extract taxes from their own people.      was rich -  legitimately rich because he had a job collecting taxes;   illegitimately rich -because charging more than what was required by Roman law.  Tax collectors -  would send thugs to threaten  (even heard  brake a leg)  if you refused to pay taxes.

Tax collectors -   considered     traitors to the Jewish people….. unclean,  lowest of the low,  scum,

Unwelcomed especially in the synagogues….. they were outcast,  excluded from worship, No Jew would invite them to their home,  and they WOULD NEVER  enter a home of a tax collector…….

 

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way

Zach….SEEKING To SEE  Who Jesus was………….Never met Jesus before, ……  his curiosity  DROVE him to get a LOOK at WHO JESUS was…… 

There was something about Jesus……He wanted to at LEAST  see him….  I don’t think he ever thought there would be a personal meeting and a personal conversation with Jesus….  He had heard of Jesus,  and no doubt he heard of his compassion, and he had heard the criticism that he spends time with tax collectors and sinners…….

You would think….. his situation…. Rich…..  no time for Jesus,  no interest to see Jesus….. That’s the folly of riches….  This world and all that it has can never fill the emptiness of the human soul.

Then there’s the crowd      but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.      He could have said….well, that was a good idea, but I’m a short guy….no way I will be able to see Jesus………SO HE RAN ON HOME AND FORGOT ABOUT IT…..  No! 

So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way

Zach.   Knew the route the crowd was going……sycamore tree……….some type of mulberry tree….limbs were low….wide trunk…and huge leaves….. He could probably easily hid himself in the leaves  and yet get a view of Jesus in the crowd….Hiding himself in the tree…good..not to be seen by the Jews who despised all the tax collectors…

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

Zach had an interest in Jesus,    but Jesus had a greater interest in Zach..

Jesus

·         Looked up……….. can you imagine……..their eyes meet….

·         Called him by name           (Just the mention of his name….any wonder that would have knocked him out of the tree….. Omnisicent Lord   knew him…. Knows his name… The Lord knows those that are his….

·         Gives a summons…………  hurry and come down, for I must…..

Here is the Divine summons………….it’s the Call of God upon a person’s life…..it’s the efficacious call….an irresistible call of God  that you don’t resist because you don’t want to resist…….a summons  by the Lord to come down now…  “hurry and come down…..”

Romans 8:30

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

There was a POINT IN TIME….when Jesus looked up into that tree and called Zaccheus..

There was a POINT in ETERNITY PAST  when Jesus looked and predestined to call Zacch. To himself

 

So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully

What did Zac  do?      Did he say…. “No, you just go on ahead….I’ll meet you later…”      HE hurried and came down….received him   joyfully…..     not dreadfully,   but joyfully,   not reluctantly, by gladly….

Some folks  act like their eating persimmons, ….meeting Christ….receiving Christ….. makes you move more quickly in the direction of obedience…..  and it’s not a DREAD…. It’a joy….

David calls it    THE JOY OF SALVATION…

There’s joy on his face…. ….He’s walking with JOY……He seems to be standing much taller now…He’s walking side by side with Christ….going home…. and spending the day with Christ…

EVERYONE’S  WATCHING THIS…..  HOW DO THEY RESPOND??????

AND WHEN THEY SAW IT,  THEY ALL PRAISE THE LORD  ??   

And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

“GONE in to be the guest…..”    this means….Jesus will stay the night…..    Unspeakable for Jews to stay the night in the home of a tax collector….not even speaking of entering their house…

 

Go to…and read…..Luke 5: 29-32                 I did not come to call the righteous….

 

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.”

Exodus 22   the maximum pay back to make for restitution…  is 4 times the amount….  Zacc. Went to the max in his obedience…..   that’s the evidence of true transformation…..true salvation…  a person gives evidence of obedience to Christ….  not half-hearted obedience….not 25% obedience;  or 50%;  but rather His desire is for 100% obedience.

If any man be in Christ….      Faith without works is dead…   eph. 2:10 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

John MacArthur…….commented on Zaccheus ‘   transformation…..

“True righteousness results in a transformation, a transformation that hits at the very core of your dominant category of sin. Now you can pick a lot of categories. For Zaccheus it was money and extortion. For somebody else, it might be something else. It might be anger, it might be immorality. It might be homosexuality. It might be whatever. But when true salvation comes and real transformation comes, it strikes a death blow at the core category of one's wretchedness.” (MacArthur – www.gty.org)

You heard Zaccheus ‘  commitment  to  make restitution……….  I bet there was long line at his house of people waiting to get their money back….

Do you think Zach  was JUST SAYING WORDS…..or did he really mean it….?????      Only Jesus knows…..He knows the heart….if this wasn’t coming from the heart….Jesus would have said something like   “your honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me…”     Zach was standing next to Jesus.. ….NOTICE  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord……     He was standing NEXT to TRUTH…  Jesus is the truth……   You can’t lie standing looking into the EYES…those piercing eyes,  those pure, all-seeing eyes of Christ……..  I’ve known people look right in my face and lie….no one can do that to Christ.

Here’s what Jesus said…..   “Today…..”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.

 

Not  salavation   might come,    hopefully will come,    maybe will come if he continues to live the right way,……..  TODAY….. has come… PRESENT TENSE…..

“TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION………….”    ETERNALLY SECURED……

SON OF ABRAHAM---   NOT just a son of Abraham,  by race,  by genetics,  by heritage,   but spiritually…..

Romans 2:28  a Jew is not a Jew who is one outwardly, but is one inwardly

Galatians 3:6-7  just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

 

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

This verse is the GOSPEL MESSAGE……………AND it was illustrated in the story of Zaccheus….

Zacchues was seeking to see Jesus…..but it was Jesus WHO first came to SEE HIM…….  Jesus knew long before entering Jericho….he would meet a man called Zaccheus…he knew his name….he knew his occupation….he knew he would be in a tree…. He knew which tree….and guess what…he knew which limb he would be sitting on…………..

The Lord CAME to SEEK….and   To SAVE  the lost…

That’s the purpose for Christ coming…

 

Remind us---  Christmas angel---  tells  Joseph   -  Matt. 1:21  “Call his name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins”    Paul 1Tim. 1:15  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

 

Who has come?       “Son of Man”      why that title?   It’s the title Jesus gives of himself.    Speaks of his humanity,…He is among men…..yet…from the book of Daniel…a title speaking of his diety….an exalted title….

“has come”      not come to Jericho….but  “has come into the world”-------this means HIS  INCARNATION…..

Why has He come?      To seek and to save the lost      …..This is the Gospel…….Jesus is the Savior of people;   He is the Seeker of those He Saves…..      some say…..  Jesus saves those who seek Him….. that’s true,  but our text says this…Jesus came to seek and to save the lost….

It is true…. God has promised to bless those who seek Him……Isaiah 55:6 “seek the Lord”       Amos 5:4  “seek me and live”      Matt. 7:7  “seek and you shall find”

Jesus comes seeking us FIRST.   We would never SEEK HIM,  unless,  He FIRST  sought for us.

Romans 3:10-12

10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”

 

Man does not naturally seek after God……. If God did not  INITIATE the SEEKING….we would never know Him…we would never repent….

Adam & Eve…   sin…..  they did not seek after God….  They HID from God….   God came LOOKING for them…    Where are you, Adam?  

 

The text does NOT read….    Jesus came to save those who are seeking Him……..  no one is seeking….

If there is those who seek him,  it’s only because He first sought them…..    We love him, because he first loved us.

“I sought the Lord and afterward I knew he moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me..”

 

The LORD SEEKS…..and then…

SAVES those Whom He seeks….

The sinner left to himself  is  unable,  and unwilling to save himself…

 

SAVES  from  eternal damnation….  From the God of Wrath…..

Jesus did not SAVE US just from a life meaningless….he did,  but much more…

 

The lost….. much stronger word  than what it might appear…

Ruined, depraved,   totally lost,   not just a little bit lost…..  totally lost….

Eph 2:1   And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

 

Zacchues,   and we as well…….were just like   Lazarus….dead……  it  required  the  DIVINE SUMMONS….. the Call of God….     Come forth…..

Christ has come…..

He knows where you are….just like Zach…

 

Trust Him today…






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