Sermon for 8/27/2006
Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man
Zacchaeus was a wee little man … Sing the song.
A. Jesus was often in the company of notorious sinners. (Luke 15:1 NIV) Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. (Luke 15:2 NIV) But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
B. Jesus did not have to go through Jericho. It was not directly on the way to Jerusalem. However, Jesus went through Jericho for two people. One of them was this man named Zacchaeus. Jesus would often go out of his way to be with certain people. How often do we do this?
Thesis: This sermon is brought to you by the letter “M.”
1. The Man vs. 2-4
A. Vs. 2- A man named Zacchaeus. We know two things from his name. 1) He was Jewish. 2) He didn’t live up to his name of pure. Of course no one lives up to the name of pure, but in Zacchaeus case he did exactly the opposite of being pure. WE could imagine his parents at his birth looking at him and saying what a pure sight so they gave him the name of pure. However, Zacchaeus was a disgrace to his parents and to the nation of Israel.
B. Vs. 2- a chief tax collector. A tax collector in Jesus day was a traitor. The tax system in that day worked like this: The Romans would hire native Jews to be tax collectors; the Romans would require each tax collector to pay them a certain amount. The Romans did not pay the tax collectors; the tax collectors paid them for the right to tax in the name of Rome. Each tax collector paid for a certain section to tax and they would charge what the Romans wanted plus what the tax collector wanted. This system was effective because everyone was taxed but it was full of fraud. As a matter of fact, the whole thing was based on fraud. If someone thought the tax was too high, too bad. IF they didn’t pay what the tax collector asked, then they were put into jail. Also, Zacchaeus was good at it, he was a chief. In the mafia he would be called the godfather. In the drug world, he would be called the kingpin.
C. VS. 2- And he was rich. The only reason that someone would become a tax collector was because they loved money. Zacchaeus had to love money better than he loved his nation. He loved money better than he loved the respect of his city. He loved money better than he loved his own soul. He loved money better than he loved his God.
D. Vs. 3- He sought to see who Jesus was- He was curious about this Jesus. Curiosity can kill the cat, but if Zacchaeus had not been curious, he would not have bothered to go and see Jesus. But deeper than this, Zacchaeus was restless and disappointed. He had set out to get money and had succeeded. But he found that money had no power to satisfy the longings of the soul or to heal the hurts of the heart. Maybe he heard the stories about this Jesus, that he spent time with tax collectors. Maybe he heard the story about the tax collector Levi (Matthew), who was now one of Jesus’ disciples.