Summary: It is great to look for Jesus but greater to know Jesus is looking for us.
Text: Luke 19:1-10
Title: A tale of two collectors.
I remember very little about the last time I climbed a tree. A group of us were playing tag and I had climbed this big tree in order to catch someone. The next thing I can remember is some time later waking up in the hospital and everyone telling me I was very lucky.
I only mention this because in our bible story we see this man named Zacchaeus having a much better experience the last time he climbed a tree.
The story of Zacchaeus and Jesus is a story about two different kinds of collectors.
The bible tells us that Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a very good one for we are told in verse 2 “he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy” and then we have Jesus who is the collector of lost souls. For in verse 10 we read that the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
An important thing to see in our story is that Zacchaeus and Jesus are searching for each other.
When it comes to this issue of us searching for God and God searching for us the bible is very clear that it is God who initiates the search.
For example immediately after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned it was God who responded first.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)
And it was God who responded first to Moses by appearing to him in the burning bush.
What is true in the Old Testament is also true in the New. God makes the first move when He sent Jesus into the world.
In Luke 19:1 we discover that the only reason Zacchaeus hears about Jesus is because Jesus makes the first move when he entered Jericho to pass through.
It is a great thing to look for Jesus but can I tell you something even greater. Jesus is looking for you and me.
The very moment you and I got up this morning Jesus was looking for us. As you and I were looking for our clothes this morning Jesus was looking for us.
He is looking for us in order to give us two things. The number one thing he is looking to give us is spiritual salvation.
“Today salvation has come to this house…” (v9)
You and I can know today that we are saved.
And the second thing he is looking to give us is an ongoing personal relationship with him.
“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today…” (V5)
Some people think that it’s only when we get to heaven that we will get to spend time with Jesus. No! He wants us to spend time with him down here.
When we get to heaven and see Jesus he wants it to be a meeting of friends not strangers.
To further prove that Jesus is always looking for us take a look at verse 5.
‘When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus…”
He knows our name and he knows where we are.
The question is not whether Jesus is looking for us but are we looking for Jesus?
There are two times people usually go looking for Jesus. Most of us fit into this one. We go looking for Jesus when we lose everything. A crisis happens in our lives and we turn to God. C.S. Lewis said that pain is God’s megaphone.
Then we have people like Zacchaeus who look for Jesus not because they lose everything but because they have everything and yet they still feel empty.
Zacchaeus had every want met except one. He wanted to see Jesus. And everything Zacchaeus did in order to see Jesus and everything Zacchaeus did after he met Jesus showed that his want to see Jesus was more important than any other want he had.
Can we see here that wanting to see Jesus takes some creativity and work on our part?
“He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” (V3-4)
If we will provide the “want to” God will provide the “how to”.
When we speak of wanting to see Jesus we are speaking of a wanting that is intense.
We can’t be unsure or casual about wanting to see Jesus. Zacchaeus had an intense wanting to see Jesus so he ran ahead.