Sermon delivered by Jack on 21/06/20 6:30 pm Melbourne, Victoria, Australia time.
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Luke 19:1-10 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
19 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchæus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchæus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Many great things in Luke are encapsulated in today’s passage. This is particularly true of verse ten, where the “lost” is mentioned. This term means sinners and many people today don’t like this term. But God set a holy standard.
When we were first created, we were perfect. Yet we can see now that we are flawed in that we suffer from ill health and aging. The greatest evidence of our flaws is death.
But we don’t just suffer from our flaws then die, never to be remembered again. God created us with purpose, to show forth His glory and to be in companionship with us so that we know and serve Him.
Sadly, man is not just separated from God but actively turned against Him. Many of the “abominations” referred to in both the Old and New Testaments are becoming ever more apparent in the world today. As to what these abominations might be, kindly see the passage from Leviticus below:
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God. 3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. 4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God. 5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.
6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord. 7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman. 14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. 15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness. 17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. 18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time. 19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. 20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 and the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (for all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 that the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.
Sin is obvious in the world, we can see it even in the smallest of children. Surely you remember when you were little, the first time you disobeyed your parents, the time you took something you shouldn’t have. Even as adults we have not walked today in perfection.
And it’s due to our sin that we are headed towards an eternity separated from God. Man thinks that he is independent from God and therefore he trusts in “what I have done.” Yet he doesn’t realize that the very air in his lungs is from God, as is his ability to draw his next breath. The sun, moon and stars are also from God. All good things in Creation are from him, as it is written:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Something needs to be done about the problem of sin, which is where we see some people turn to religions such as Buddhism and other apparent solutions. But we need to turn to what is divinely inspired and revealed: the Word of God. The Bible points to one time and one person, Jesus Christ, who is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. And as we see by examining verse ten today, He comes to seek and save that which was lost.
Luke 18, which forms the context for today’s chapter, shows us the compassion of Christ. He even called someone who was chief amongst sinners (Zacchaeus) so that he could be saved.
We will now consider some aspects of Zacchaeus’s character before he met Christ. In short, he was not a popular person but was seen by ordinary Israelites as a man working for the enemy. He would regularly tax them and give the proceeds to the rich, including the government, and was called a “sinner” by others. Before his conversion to Christ, this label was accurate. His riches were wrongly gained, most likely by skimming a little bit extra for himself when collecting people’s taxes. There was thus no place for him with his brothers on earth or in the kingdom of heaven.
So what was it that made Zacchaeus come down from his fancy office to see a man (Jesus Christ) passing through? I believe he looked within himself and saw that there was something lacking. He had riches but he did not have hope until he saw Christ and thought that He could be Israel’s long-awaited Messiah, the King, a Saviour. He therefore sought to see Jesus, who He was.
Many of us today may be in the same position as Zacchaeus was. Do we have riches but no hope after this earthly life ends? We need to focus on who He is (not on a particular spiritual solution). Christ is the solution, the Saviour of sinners.
Returning back to today’s passage. It tells us that Zacchaeus initially couldn’t see Jesus as he was “little of stature.” This might also be true of you today. In seeking to come to Christ there may be an obstacle in your way. Yet Zacchaeus was determined and climbed a tree to get more visibility over the crowd. This cost him both effort and potential embarrassment as no doubt many people saw him up in the tree. He wanted to find out who Jesus was. The Saviour of sinners. There may be effort and embarrassment in coming to Christ but it is worthwhile.
Christ came to Zacchaeus with divine knowledge and looked up into the tree at the right moment. And this is true of how He calls people today. He knows the condition of your heart and the divine knowledge that you seek. Christ speaks personally to you (me) because today He must abide at my house. When it comes to salvation, God doesn’t say wait until tomorrow. As it is written:
2 Corinthians 6:2
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
In today’s passage we can see a contrast between the joyful way Zacchaeus received Christ and the grumbling crowd. Christ stops with the sinner and makes friends with him. We next see repentance genuinely come to Zacchaeus. The man known for taking things begins to give. His life changes and Jesus acknowledges this by saying, “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” He ends his pronouncement by adding, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Now is the day to seek and find and to save that which was lost.
My comment, not Jack’s:
May the Lord Jesus bless you and:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)