Summary: This sermon is about Zacchaeus. It includes a humorous story to keep your listeners interested.
Jesus Loves Lost Sinners
1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house."
6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
7But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."
8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold."
9And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;
10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Today's passage is one of the best-known stories in the Bible.
It's taught to little children in Sunday School classes.
It's the story of a little man named Zacchaeus.
Remember the little song we sang in VBS about Zacchaeus?
Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
and a wee little man was he,
He climbed up in a sycamore tree,
for the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in that tree,
And He said "Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I'm going to your house today!"
We'll get into our Bible text for today...
But first I want to tell you another story.
Today's story is about another little man. His name was Freddie Simpson. Our story begins at a fitness center owned by a guy by the name of Bruno Walker. Bruno was big and strong. One day, Bruno took out an advertisement in the local newspaper. He issued a challenge. $1,000 would be given to anyone who could demonstrate that they were stronger than him. Here's how it worked. This muscle man Bruno would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and then hand the lemon to the challenger. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop of juice out of that lemon would win the money.
As time went on, many strong men came to meet the challenge. There were weightlifters, construction workers, even professional wrestlers, but nobody could do it. Every single time, none of them could squeeze a drop of juice after Bruno was finished.
More of that story a little later!
When Zacchaeus climbed up into that tree, he was a lost sinner,
but he became a child of God.
I am interested in how that happened in his life.
You know why?
Because it has happened in my life.
It has happened in the lives of other people in this church.
And if you are a lost sinner, it can happen in your life, too.
Point #1 Unsaved people need to look for Jesus.
3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
Zacchaeus lived in Jericho.
As a tax collector he was extremely unpopular and very lonely
He was despised and hated by all the people in the Jericho area.
He was an employee of the Roman government.
The tax collectors and were notorious for overcharging the people.
For example, if Rome levied a 5% tax,
the tax collectors could charge 10% or whatever they wished.
Tax collectors were guilty of gross extortion of the people.
They were viewed as the worst of sinners.
Remember the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector?
What did the Pharisee say?
11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector.
Tax Collectors had a bad reputation.
They were crooked.
They charged more in taxes than they were entitled to.
And they used the Roman Army to enforce their will.
And there was no Board of Tax Review to resort to
if you felt you were being unfairly taxed.
Remember the story of John the Baptist?
He came calling the people to repent of their sins and be baptized.
Listen to Luke 3:12-13:
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" 13 "Don't collect any more than you are required to,"
Tax Collectors weren't very nice people