Summary: Jesus invites Himself to Zaccheus’ home just like He invites Himself into our lives. He simply wants us to respond to His invitation.

-“Guess whose coming to dinner” is a famous movie

-It is #99 on the American Film Institutes top 100 films of the last 100 years

-It has a star-studded cast with Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

-It is about a young African-American doctor who meets a young Caucasian woman and they fall in love

-They decide to marry so she invites him to her parents’ home for dinner

-It came out in 1967 when interracial marriage t was still illegal in most states

-There are some similarities to the story in our Gospel lesson for today

-It’s an interesting story – let’s take a look

-First, our text trails the story of Jesus who encountered a blind man, Bartimaeus, sitting by the side of the road as He was approaching Jericho

-Our text says that Jesus was approaching Jericho as He was passing through

-Where was He going?

-In the previous chapter, beginning at verse 31, it says “Jesus took the twelve aside and told them, ‘we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again.”

-Jesus had an important mission ahead of Him, that is where he was headed

-When you are on a mission to accomplish something, when you are really focused on a goal, do you try to be as efficient with your time as possible?

-Sometimes, if you are like me, you may forget to be nice to the people around you. You may not exchange pleasantries with people you normally would. You may even get so busy you forget to eat.

-But not Jesus

-When Jesus has a task to do – He dawdles

-Was He scared? Did He have cold feet about going through with His life’s mission? Was He having second thoughts?

-Maybe He decided just to put it off a week? People had been living in their sins for a long time, what was another day or two, either way?

-Why would He do such a thing? {PAUSE}

-Have you ever had the opportunity to meet a famous person?

-Did you ever hear that a famous person was coming to town and made arrangements to see them?

-I remember when I was in elementary school and we heard that then-President Jimmy Carter was coming to town and he was going to shake hands out at the airport

-My parents weren’t big fans of President Carter but we went out to the airport for a chance to see him and maybe shake his hand

-How about if the person were more important to us?

-I was at West Point when then President Ronald Reagan came to visit and give an important speech

-Once our leadership found out he was coming, people worked feverishly around the installation to get ready

-We only had a week to get ready

-For security reasons, the entire parade field had to be turned around

-All non-essential activities were cancelled and we spent all of our spare time parading on the new and improved parade ground, cleaning our weapons, preparing our uniforms, cleaning our rooms

-After three years of doing miracles, traveling around, teaching, even raising the dead – I’m sure there was not a person in 1st century Palestine that hadn’t heard of Jesus but there were sure people who hadn’t seen him or had a chance to meet Him

-Zacchaeus was one of those people

-He wanted to a least get a glimpse of the man

-He wanted to get a chance to meet the prophet, the healer

-He had a problem though, he was short and there was a large crowd {PAUSE}

-How bad off do you have to be in order to compromise your dignity?

-How good a gift has to be on the line before your do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily do?

-How bad do you have to want something before you go all out to get it?

-The day after Thanksgiving, there will be numerous door-buster sales

-Stores offer ridiculously low prices on some items in order to get people to come out at unbelievably early hours to snag up the deals

-They’ll normally show the opening of the doors on the news that evening

-It’s comical watching the people embarrass themselves pushing and shoving, doing things they teach their kids not to do

-Dignity and self-respect are a big deal for Middle Easterners

-To get ahead of the crowd, our text says Zacchaeus had to run. To run in a robe means you have to hike it up a bit in order to not trip and fall. If that weren’t bad enough, Zacchaeus, a rich and widely known man, stooped to climbing a tree like a school boy

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