6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Zacchaeus did whatever it took to see Jesus. What are we willing to do? The closer we look, the better Jesus is. Answer his call today.


By Pastor Jim May

Luke 19:1-4, "And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way."

Jesus was on his final journey to Jerusalem. The time for the fulfillment of his purpose on earth was drawing near. He was on his way to the cross. Jesus knew that there would be no coming back.

Jericho was just a city that lay in the path that Jesus would take to get back to Jerusalem. It would seem, to the casual reader, that stopping in Jericho really wasn’t part of Jesus’ plans. He was just passing through, on his way to a different destination.

But am convinced that with Jesus there were no chance meetings or accidental miracles. Everything that Jesus did was for a purpose.

And that’s the way it was on this journey through Jericho as well. I believe that in the mind of Christ, his purpose for going through Jericho was already planned and set, , and with his all-seeing eyes, he already knew that there was going to be a little short man who was out on a limb and needed deliverance.

There’s a purpose in your being here this morning too. It’s not by accident that you woke up this morning and decided to come to the House of the Lord. Jesus saw you while you yet sleeping and he knew, before you ever rose up this morning, that this would be your day. He chose to pass by here this morning because he saw something in you.

Jesus went through Jericho because he knew that there would a “son of Abraham” in that city who was ready for deliverance.

In that city of Jericho, there was a lot of trade and business that was going on all the time. Just as it is in our cities, there was always a tax to be collected from every business transaction. Tax collectors and accountants were everywhere, exacting tolls on every boat load of goods, collect road use taxes, fuel taxes, tolls to travel on some roads perhaps.

The chief IRS agent in the city was a little, short man by the name of Zacheaus.

It has often been said that you cannot measure a man by the size of the man in the fight, but by the size of the fight in the man. Zaccheaus was a fighter. He had fought and scraped his way to the top of his profession. He might be what we would call the Chief of the IRS in Jericho. He used his position to gain favors, and he abused his position against his own people to get rich.

Have you ever known a politician that didn’t get to the top of his game without compromising his beliefs? It takes money to make money, and it takes a lot of money to make a lot of money. The Bible says that Zacchaeus was rich. I wonder how he got his riches? I doubt seriously that he wanted a 9 to 5 job. No, this short, stubby little man shot for the moon and picked up handsful of stardust if you will. He got rich off of the misfortune of others and gained most of this great wealth by skimming off the top of whatever taxes were collected.

It was fairly easy to do. When you are the middle man, its just an accepted business practice to add a fee to be the handler. If we could eliminate the middle man costs from what we buy, we could probably save between 50 and 70 percent of the cost of nearly everything we buy.

The cost of manufacturing or producing what you need probably represents only about 25% of its final cost. The rest of the cost is tacked on by each middle man who gets his hands on the items as they pass through on their way to market. The trucker has to make a living so his fees are added to pay for shipping costs. The warehouses where everything comes to and then gets re-distributed, adds their fees to the cost as well. On and on this process goes and there can be a lot of middle men involved. Most of our “Discount Stores” have prices that are a little lower only because they have learned to eliminate some of the middle men in their stocking processes and then pass part of that savings on to the customer to create a loyal customer base. That’s the way the Walmart works, and many others.

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