Summary: Jesus taught us to do evangelism by ministering to the needs of people - Luke 19:1-10
Song: God can do a lot with a little. A little is a lot with God!
Jesus showed how he can take one little life and use it as a seed to multiply His kingdom and righteousness as a demonstration of His power, love and grace working through the most unlikely people.
Statistic: Pollsters report that 72 percent of Americans don’t know their next-door neighbors.
Bill McKibben, in "the Age of Missing Information", Signs of the Times, February, 1994.
1. Jesus initiated evangelism with Zacchaeus in a public place where everyone could learn from the encounter. Jesus was always willing to go to the rejected, the despised and the lonely sinners resided. He said, "I did not come to the healthy, but to those who recognized their need. (Luke 19:1,2)
Illustration: The Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported in September, 1985 a celebration of a New Orleans municipal pool. The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at the New Orleans city pool. In honor of the occasion, 200 people gathered, including 100 certified lifeguards. As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season.
Times-Reporter, September 1985.
2. Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. He personalized his approach to evangelism identifying closely with those to whom He ministered. He said, "Hurry and come down for I must stay at your house." (vs. 5)
Illustration:In a yet-to-be-released poll, George Gallup, Jr., reported seven needs of the average American:
1. The need for shelter and food,
2. The need to believe life is meaningful and has a purpose,
3. The need for a sense of community and deeper relationships,
4. The need to be appreciated and respected,
5. The need to be listened to and be heard,
6. The need to feel one is growing in faith,
7. The need for practical help in developing a mature faith.
National and International Religion Report, May 29, 1991.
3. Jesus approached Zacchaeus without fear of what others would say about eating in the house of a tax-gatherer and a sinner. Jesus did not fear men nor did He allow people to deter him from His mission.
4. Jesus knew the powerful message it would send to Zacchaeus and his household through His willingness to dine at his house. Jesus took a chance of being misunderstood by the community, but He believed that Zacchaeus eternal destiny was worth the risk. (vs.7)
5. Jesus looked beyond Zacchaues’s limitations and saw a soul hungering for salvation. Many people have a hard time overlooking others’ faults. Jesus saw the heart of a man who longed to be forgiven and reconciled with God.
6. Jesus knew that many people use excuses for not giving their lives to Him as their Lord and Savior. Yet, Jesus initiated the relationship with Zacchaeus that helped him put aside his pride. Jesus showed how love can overcome any excuse or limitation - background, financial, emotional, social, cultural or religious.
Illustration:The young salesman was disappointed about losing a big sale, and as he talked with his sales manager he lamented, "I guess it just proves you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink." The manager replied, "Son, take my advice: your job is not to make him drink. Your job is to make him thirsty." So it is with evangelism. Our lives should be so filled with Christ that they create a thirst for the Gospel.
Preaching, November-December 1985.
7. Jesus knew that most people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. The Lord Jesus befriended Zacchaeus before He taught him the true way to eternal life.
8. Jesus visited Zacchaeus in his home so that the entire family and neighbors could share in the benefit of the association. The Lord knew that Zacchaeus was despised by the Jews for being a tax-collector. Jesus wanted everyone to know that the Lord is interested in saving the worst sinners with His power and love.
9. Jesus knew that tax-collectors were relegated to a social-cultural-moral level of adulterers, panderers, flatterers, and sycophants (one who tries to win favor by acting in a slave-like way to someone in the government or position of power). Jesus wanted to demonstrate that even though others dislike you my love knows no limit to its depth, breadth, length or height. (Eph. 3:14-20)
10. Jesus did not back down from the abuse He received from His critics. Many of the big people of the day said, "Look at that man, He has gone to be a guest at the house of a sinner. (vs. 7) Expect persecution from religious people if you are serious about doing the will of God.