Summary: The Lord Can Use Even Me
I was sitting in church Sunday morning and for some reason or other I began thinking about string. Now don’t ask me why. Yeah I know it is not a typical thought – but then again you don’t have a typical pastor. But anyway, sitting on a pew at St. Peters, listening to the choir my mind began drifting to a string. Now the first thing I did was admonish myself for thinking of such a trivial thing. A string is not something I would bend over and pick up. If I see it on someone’s lapel, I would merely brush it off. String – simply what most people would see as just something to overlook or throw away? No real usefulness. After service someone came to me and told me my hem was coming out…….I looked down and the string I had pulled earlier was the last thing holding up my hem, and my discarding it had resulted in a fallen hem. I began thinking of how we are so quick to discount the worth of a lot of things including people. On the news people of color are often time put in the light of down and out – hopeless and worthless. Drug dealers are considered parasites on a community. Prostitutes are seen as diseases in a city. Alcoholics looked upon as degenerates. Homeless or jobless seen as simply lazy and useless. Bush sees the people of Iraq as just simple and necessary casualties. Our boys and girls who are losing their lives as simply pawn in his vendetta. Looked at as merely string. When we read this scripture, Zacchaeus is looked upon as being much like I thought of the string. Something not really necessary. But when we read the response of Jesus it let’s us know that this gift of salvation is not for those who consider themselves holier then though = but salvation is a gift to anyone willing to believe that God loved us enough to give us Jesus! Turn to someone and say Even Me!
Zacchaeus was an outcaste by the church folk. Considered unsavable by the church folk. Considered useless by the church folk. Considered hopeless by the church folk. Zacchaeus was considered to be a hopeless case. It was thought that nothing could be done to help him. Zacchaeus was considered hopelessly unsavable. The Jewish religious system had no hope for people such as Zacchaeus. The Scribes and Pharisees – The Church folk looked on him as if he had an incurable disease. Just another hopeless sinner destined for hell. Here he was, a town official – tax collector – rich man – He was seen as useless as that piece of string I pulled out of my hem. Just a nuisance. Just a sinner. Just a heathen. Someone simply wasting God’s time. But if it weren’t for the strongest string that was ever invented. The lifeline – Jesus – all of us would be sinking deep in sin. But God threw out the lifeline of salvation. Turn to someone and say neighbor God saw fit to save Even Me!
Look at the scripture, salvation was highly unlikely for a man like Zacchaeus, who was a rich politician. The rich young ruler in the previous chapter, Luke 18, seemed a more likely candidate for salvation, but yet Zacchaeus, a rich political figure, was granted salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is granted to him because salvation is a God’s free gift through Jesus Christ. Salvation is free because there is nothing to be found in us, there was nothing to be found in Zacchaeus, that could in any way induce God to be merciful. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is the sole source of our finding favor in God’s sight. A few chapters earlier, in Luke 15, Christ illustrated His yearning love for lost sinners in a general way by giving the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Now, in Luke 19, Christ shows His yearning love very specifically and personally in the salvation of Zacchaeus. We see how the Lord rescued Zacchaeus from all his sins and transgressions. Therefore our theme this morning is: Even ME!