Summary: In order to draw nearer to Jesus we need to make the effort.
From Wee Little to Great Big
Text: Lk. 19:1-10
1. Read Lk. 19:1-10
2. Illustration: A certain man was troubled with dizzy spells. He went from one doctor to another and none could tell him what the problem was. He tried everything, it seemed. Finally, it was bothering him so much he started to lose weight, and he couldn’t sleep at night. He became a nervous wreck and his health began to deteriorate. He had lost hope that he would ever recover. So he decided to prepare for the worst. He made out his will, bought a cemetery plot, and even made arrangements with the local undertaker for what he was convinced was his soon demise. He even decided to buy a new suit of clothes to be buried in. When he went into the haberdasher’s he was measured for everything and picked out shoes, socks, coat, pants--and he asked for a size 15 shirt as well. The clerk said, "But, sir, you need a size 16 1/2 shirt, not 15." But the man insisted he wore a size 15. Finally, in exasperation the clerk said, "But if you wear a size 15 you’ll get dizzy spells."
3. That man needed a size 16 1/2 shirt. We need to draw closer to Jesus.
Proposition: In order to draw nearer to Jesus we need to make the effort.
Transition: We need to see that...
I. Coming to Jesus Takes Desperation (1-4)
A. He Ran Ahead
1. After healing a blind man outside the city, Jesus entered Jericho.
2. Luke tells us that "there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich."
a. From a tax-collecting perspective, Zacchaeus had it made. Taxes were collected at three places inland — Capernaum, Jericho, and Jerusalem — and he had one of the big three.
b. Jericho had a commanding position at the crossing of the Jordan River and one of the prime approaches to Jerusalem. And Jericho was rich due to its great palm forests and balsam groves.
c. As chief tax collector Zacchaeus was head of a tax-farming corporation with collectors who extorted the people, then paid him before he paid the Romans.
d. He was filthy rich in the fullest sense of the term. Not a likely candidate for the kingdom!
3. However, he did one thing right: he wanted to see Jesus.
4. Zacchaeus, like the rest of the people in Jericho, was curious to see this man whose healings and teachings had been astounding people all over the country.
a. Moments earlier, a blind man sitting on the side of the road had been healed (18:42-43).
b. The news had spread, and Zacchaeus wanted to get a look at Jesus.
5. The text reveals another detail about this wealthy tax collector: he was so short that he could not see over the people in the crowd.
6. Zacchaeus would not be put off.
a. He ran on down the road and climbed a sycamore tree.
b. The sycamore tree was easy to climb, it was like an oak tree with wide lateral branches.
c. He was desperate to see Jesus, and he was not going to be denied.
B. Run to Jesus
1. Illustration: An atheist was out fishing in England, when all of a sudden a huge dragon type amphibian began to come out of the water. With snarling teeth it moved closer to the atheist. In desperation he shouted, “Dear God, Please save me!” All of a sudden, everything stopped moving and the heavens opened and a deep voice said, “I thought you didn’t believe in Me?” To that the atheist responded, “Give me a break, two minutes ago I didn’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster either!”
2. Desperation can be a marvelous thing.
a. It causes us to do things we wouldn’t normally do.
b. It causes us to believe things we never would have believed before.
c. It causes us to cling to things we wouldn’t normally cling to.
3. The problem is that often we don’t realize how desperate we are until it’s too late.
4. The truth is we are all desperate. We are all desperate for more of Jesus.
a. We are desperate for his presence in prayer.
b. We are desperate to be feed by Him through the word.
c. We are desperate to come before his throne in worship.
d. We are desperate for Him to change us.
5. The strange thing about it is that we don’t act like we’re desperate.
a. We think prayer is an option.
b. We think the only time we need to be in the word is at church.
c. We think that worship is for somebody else.
d. We think that fasting is for people in monasteries.