Summary: Zacchaeus was a litle man in his own eyes and in the people’s eyes; but not to Jesus. There are no insignificant people to Jesus, nor should there be to us. Jesus can give us "People Eyes" like his.
NO LITTLE PEOPLE (or PEOPLE EYES)
Intro: A young woman’s car stalled at a light. The light turned green. The car behind her actually had room to go around but didn’t. Instead the person in the car kept on honking the horn. After attempting to start the car, the young woman got out and went back to the honker’s car, and said, “Tell you what—you start my car, and I’ll sit back here and honk for you!”
We may say that everyone is equally valuable and important in God’s eyes – and therefore in ours – but we don’t always live like it, do we?
1. ZACCHAEUS’S STORY IS LIKE MANY
A. Zacchaeus’ Situation.
1. He was RICH, and REJECTED. He was the chief tax collector of the region; his headquarters were in Jericho. Tax collectors of the time were independent contractors working for the despised Roman occupiers. As long as they gave to Rome what Rome asked for, they could make their own profit by charging pretty much what they could get away with. Therefore, they were considered both notoriously corrupt (“tax collectors and sinners”), and were despised and rejected as conspirators with Rome.
2. The famous JESUS was coming through town. He was on the way to Jerusalem and his divine appointment with the cross. He was the great celebrity of the day. A great crowd formed. Zacchaeus, being a “wee, little man” couldn’t see. And not being popular with the people, the crowd didn’t make it any easier for him. (Cf. Randy Newman’s song, “Short People”.) But he kept trying. Why?
B. Zacchaeus’ Needs.
1. WEALTH was not enough. He had met his material goals; he was rich, but it was not enough. He had a restless HEART. Cf. Psalm 37:1-4, 16-17. “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee,” said Augustine. God withholds total happiness and security until we are His.
2. But there was a new HOPE in Jesus Christ. It seems that Zacchaeus felt like the Prodigal Son of Jesus’ parable. He was an outcast and he wanted to return home. But he couldn’t. He didn’t know how to get past his own failure, and the rejection of his own people. But Jesus was different. He hung out with “tax collectors and sinners”; a tax collector was even one of his close followers. Maybe there was hope for the little guy with Jesus.
C. Jesus and Zacchaeus.
So Zacchaeus climbed the tree, and as he was passing by Jesus saw him and …
1. Jesus called him by NAME. “Zacchaeus, come on down!” Whether it was a word of knowledge through the Spirit, or the prompting of Matthew (who may likely have known him), Zacchaeus heard his name being called by Jesus. It is powerful to know we are not anonymous to God, that we are just a number in the vastness of humanity. God knows our name, and cares for us individually.
ILLUS. A Michigan H.S. basketball coach told how his team had won the state
championship, and he was on top of the world. Named coach of the year, he felt like a hero—until an incident at the end of the school year brought him back to reality. His study hall students were filling out a class schedule for the fall when a shy girl who had sat in the back row all year timidly raised her hand. “Excuse me, sir,” she began. “There’s one thing I don’t know on this form. What’s your name?” Stunned, the coach realized that despite all his success, he had failed to reach that girl. She had been in his study hall for 8 months, yet he had never taken the time to even talk to her. (Source unknown)
2. Jesus had PEOPLE EYES. Jesus was always personal; one on one. There were no insignificant people to Jesus, no one who was not worth the effort. To Jesus there were no “little people.”
ILLUS. C. S. Lewis wrote in the Weight of Glory, “There are no ordinary people.”
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” (The Weight of Glory, pp. 14-15)