Summary: Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. Jesus does not ignore people... and people cannot ignore Jesus.
Title: A Man You Can’t Ignore
Text: Luke 19:1-10
Thesis: Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost.
Watchers of the World Series had many opportunities to see the catchy ads for the 2008 Chevy Malibu that debuted on November 1. One of the ads shows a jogger running down a sidewalk; she crosses the street, and runs into the side of a parked car. She falls down, gets up and runs into the car a second time… then the announcer says, “Coming soon, a car you can’t ignore!”
(The new Chevy Malibu is supposed to compete with mid-sized segment of the industry, have bulletproof quality, beautiful interior and exterior designs, and look like a $40,000 car but sell for less than half that amount. “Finally, a car you can’t ignore!”)
Sometimes people feel like plain, old, boring sedan automobiles… people just whiz by without even noticing that we are. Sometimes we feel like just another nondescript person, lacking in any distinctive or noticeable qualities. I think Zacchaeus felt a little nondescript. He was just another small person making his way through a world of big persons.
Who would have thought that this little man would be really, and I mean really, curious about Jesus?
1. You never know who might be curious about Jesus… or what they might do to see him.
There was a man there named Zacchaeus… he tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a tree beside the road, so he could watch from there. Luke 19:1-4
In May on 1855, Dwight L. Moody applied for membership at Mount Vernon Church in Boston, Massachusetts. His membership application was rejected. His Sunday School teacher said of him, “I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came to my Sunday School class; and I think the membership committee of Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely to become a Christian… still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwight_L._Moody)
D.L. Moody was one of several children born into the home of an alcoholic father. After his father’s death, his mother had to place some of her children in homes where they had to work for room and board because she could not feed them. He left the home where he had been placed, because they fed him mush and milk three times a day, but his mother sent him back because he had enough to eat there.
Who would have thought that when D. L. Moody returned to Chicago he would become the founder of the famous Moody Church, Moody Bible Institute, and Moody Publishing? Who would have thought that he would become a Christian, much less, a great and influential one who has left a mark that endured over 150 years?
You never know who is curious about Jesus, but we can be certain that Jesus does not ignore those least likely to be noticed.
2. Jesus does not ignore the person lost in a crowd… or up a tree.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” He said, “Quick, come down! For, I must be a guest in your house today.” Luke 19:5-6
While walking his dog on a riverside path in Bedfordshire, England, a man found an ancient gold coin that was described by one expert as the single most important coin find of the century.
It was a 1,200 year-old penny that bore the image of Coenwulf, an Anglo-Saxon king who ruled between 796 and 821 A.D. There are only seven other similar coins in existence. On October 6, 2004, the coin sold at auction for $409,000, making it the most expensive British coin in history.
Of the finder it was said, “It really wasn’t an accident that this man found the coin. He has an eye for metal and coins on the ground. He is an amateur metal detector enthusiast who has an eye for metal and coins on the ground; he is always looking, even when walking his dog.” (PreachingToday.com, John Beukema, Western Springs, IL; source: “Pure Gold,” BedfordToday.co.uk, 9-10-04 and “Gold Penny Sets Record,”www.TheDesertSun.com, 10-7-04)
It is not surprising that Jesus noticed Zacchaeus. He was always looking for the one likely to go unnoticed.
• He turned when the woman touched his garment in Mark 5.
• He blessed the children that were supposed to be seen but not heard in Mark 10.
• He called Simon Peter, an ordinary fisherman whom he saw washing his nets by the Sea of Galilee in Luke 5.
• He heard the blind beggar calling out to him from the back of the crowd in Luke 18.