Summary: Don’t allow the oppositions of this world to interrupt your relationship with God.
One thing that oftentimes stops the spiritual growth, and stops the walk of many believers is the opposition that we encounter in this world. This is especially true when we receive a calling from the Lord. But, what is an opposition? An opposition is everything that looks to distance us from God’s presence. An opposition is all that seeks to stop God’s purpose in the life of a believer, and seeks to make us loose sight of the one that we can not loose sight of and His name is Jesus. But unfortunately there are many that are separated from God by the oppositions that arise in our daily life. This is why it is not uncommon to see how there are people within the church that have received spiritual gifts, but they chose not to use them. This is why it is not uncommon to see how there are many, that having felt God’s presence in their life and having experimented His love, grace, and mercy, allow the oppositions of this world to stop them from reaching a deeper relationship with God. This is why it is not uncommon to see how many have distanced themselves, that is to say, they no longer attend church, and others that although they attend service after service, their heart is very far from God. This is why today I want us to study about a small character in the bible, that although confronted with great oppositions, he did not allow anything to stop him from reaching the Lord. Let’s now turn to the word of God.
Luke 19:1-10 - Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
As I always say, to obtain a better understanding of the message that the Lord has for us today, it will be necessary to conduct a brief review in history. What transpired here in these verses took place during the time that the Roman Empire ruled this region, and this city was simply one of the many that it controlled. Needless to say, the Jewish people saw the empire as a military occupying force, and they all though that paying taxes or tributes to the empire constituted an act of treason to God. Another thing that we must also know is the method that the empire employed to collect the taxes. What the roman governors use to do was to hire the local people, that is to say, people that lived in that town or area, so that they would be the ones to perform this job. The interesting thing about all of this is that law that governed this activity. According to the Roman law, the “tax collector” would pay the empire the demanded figure before it was collected, and in appreciation, the empire would authorize that person to collect the taxes in the different areas. Not only this, the tax collector was completely authorized to make a profit from this action. In other words, if it was determined that someone owed the empire ten dollars, the tax collector could demand fifteen from that person, and the person would have to pay it, or face the heavy arm of the roman empire for violating one of its law. It is needles to say that this law was very conducive to corruption, and that the majority of all tax collectors if not all were corrupt men that abused the people. And due to the abuse and great corruption that existed, these men were very hated by all. This feeling is something that is very well insinuated in Mark 2:16 when we read “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” Keeping these brief details in mind, let’s now continue with our study today.