Summary: Last of the From the heart series: Knowing Jesus
How to know Jesus Personally
All scripture marked NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Tonight, we are going to look Luke 19:1-10, which is found on page 929 in the red Bible underneath your chair.
Here we find a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a man who came to know Jesus personally.
Do you know Jesus personally tonight?
We live in a world that longs to have a relationship with God.
In the celebrity world, we have recently heard that Tom Cruise is outspoken about his commitment to Scientology.(www.religionfacts.com)
Lindsay Lohan recently acknowledged that she was “looking into Kabbalah,” and is planning a “spiritual journey” with Madonna. (www.msnbc.com)
Angelica Jolie was asked "Is there a God?" and she gave the following answer:
“For some people. I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either. (www.religionfacts.com)
The world is seeking answers to how to know God. Not as some far away mythical being, but something close and personal.
We see in this story, that Zacchaeus was similar to the people that I have mentioned. He was rich and he was powerful.
Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan, Angelica Jolie, and Madonna are some of the most powerful names in show business. Zacchaeus was powerful and like those actors, it really doesn’t matter whether people liked him or not—Zacchaeus was a tax collector, he was still powerful—and rich.
But it wasn’t enough.
He was missing something in his life. He was missing companionship. He didn’t have many friends, he probably used all that he had to get ahead and he probably didn’t trust them because of his wealth.
He was not well liked by the people; they called him “sinner”.
He was a thief. He made his money by charging extra for the taxes, and he was good at charging high taxes. He was the chief tax collector.
He needed love, acceptance, and freedom from the guilt he held.
What is it that you are missing in your life today?
Is it acceptance? Is it encouragement? Is it freedom from guilt?
We were designed to know God personally. When God created the heavens and the earth, he made man and woman in his image to know Him and to have a relationship with him.
We desire a relationship with God, much like Adam and Eve had when they were walking through the garden having intimate conversations with the Father.
A recent study by released in American Sociological Review says that one in four Americans have no one they feel that they can confide in. This means that people are living lonelier than they have in the past. (http://www.psycport.com)
We have a desire to have close friendships. We desire love and acceptance because we were built to receive that.
The Bible teaches that you and I can have a personal relationship with God through knowing Jesus Christ. In fact, the Bible says that “No one comes to the Father except through (Jesus).” (Jn 14:6, NKJV).
Therefore, you can know God personally through knowing Jesus personally.
Look with me at Luke 19:1-10;
1Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (LK19:1, NKJV)
Jesus was passing through Jericho. If you look at the previous chapters, you will read about Jesus teaching and performing miracles. He was ministering to the people as he traveled, teaching them and helping them.
As He is traveling along, a large crowd surrounded Him. This was a common occurrence. People flocked around Jesus, several times in the New Testament, the Bible mentioned that several thousand were surrounding him.
What does that feel like? Think back to the SRP at Dryer Field House. Think about how tight that was. Or what about the DFAC at lunchtime. Or Wal-Mart at Christmas.
Jesus was often surrounded by large crowds and they were all focused around him. This was no different.
2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. (LK19:2-3, NKJV)
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. But, Zacchaeus was short.
The crowd was large and tall around him.
Have you ever noticed that the bigger the crowd is, the shorter you feel?
That’s because it is harder to get around the tall people that are in your way.
That is why stadium seating in movies is so desirable, because I don’t know about you but in the traditional theaters…it never fails for someone who was taller than I to sit in front of me.