Summary: 2 of 18 messages on moving toward greater health as a church
Recalling Christ’s Call
I. His Mission—Luke 19:1-10
A. Jesus exemplifies His mission
1. He went to where Zacchaeus was
2. He called Zacchaeus by name
3. He invited Zacchaeus to come down
4. He asked Zacchaeus to receive Him
5. He ignored Zacchaeus’ accusers
6. He brought Zacchaeus to salvation
B. Jesus explains His mission
II. His Ministry Priorities—Luke 4:42-44
A. “I will remain in connection with My Father”
B. “I will not allow Myself to be distracted or side-tracked”
C. “I will continually press forward toward the goal”
D. “I will complete My mission”
Last week we began a sermon series entitled, The New Testament Church for Today. I emphasized the fact that the focus of the series is to help us move toward the goal of becoming a healthy, Great Commission completing church. I told you that in order to move forward, it was important that we first take a couple of steps backward—as a reminder of what the Church is really all about. I said that we needed to begin by having a fresh encounter with Jesus. We were confronted with His deity, His humility, His life, His centrality, and His glory. I hope that you came away with a renewed vision of our awesome Lord and Savior.
I told you that we not only needed to embrace who Christ is, but also what He is all about. So this morning we will give consideration to the call upon Christ’s life. In our investigation, we will zero in on two important aspects of His call, namely, His mission and His ministry priorities. The purpose in approaching Jesus’ call in this way is two-fold. First, it will give us insight and understanding as to why He came (His mission) and how He went about the task of fulfilling His mission (His ministry priorities). The second purpose is to help us evaluate our calling. It is crucial that we take the time to ask ourselves the hard questions of life:
• What is my mission?
• What are my ministry priorities?
I contend that in light of the fact that we are Christ’s disciples, His mission and ministry priorities should have a profound impact on our calling. His calling is our calling. His mission is our mission. His ministry priorities are our ministry priorities. By recalling and embracing Christ call, we will be fulfilling our call as individual believers, as a local body, and as a part of the Church worldwide.
We’re going to look at two key events in Jesus’ life that expose His mission and ministry priorities.
The first event is recorded for us in Luke 19:1-10 (p. 781). In this familiar story, Jesus reveals His mission. Let’s read the passage together.
We have all probably sung the children’s song that tells the story of Zacchaeus. You can probably hear that tune ringing in your heads right now:
Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he.
He climbed way up in a sycamore tree,
For the Lord he wanted to see. . . .
Kent Hughes: “We can have fun with this, but we must remember that the story occupies a very serious place in Luke’s account of Jesus’ life because it is Jesus’ last personal encounter before his arrival in Jerusalem and the events leading to his death” (PTW-WS).
There are many different vantage points from which we could view this account. We could see it through the eyes of Zacchaeus, or through the eyes of the disciples, or we could even choose to see this story through the eyes of the crowd surrounding Jesus as He traveled. But for our purposes this morning, we will try to see this event through the eyes of Jesus. So our focus will be upon His actions and words.
Jesus Exemplifies His Mission
One of the features I love the most about this incident is that Jesus exemplifies His mission before He explicitly states it. He shows us—through six deliberate actions—a tangible, practical demonstration what He had come to do and, consequently, what we are to be about: His mission is our mission. In this encounter with Zacchaeus, Jesus gives us a living illustration of His mission. I encourage you to pay close attention to everything that Jesus does and says, even the “subtle” things, because everything is done purposefully and intentionally.
He Went to Where Zacchaeus Was
The first thing that Jesus did was to go to where Zacchaeus was. Luke writes, When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up (19:5a). As Jesus was making His way through Jericho, He came to the place where the sycamore-fig tree was growing. And the song continues:
And as the Savior passed his way,
He looked up in the tree.
Here’s one of the subtleties I don’t want you to miss. Luke tells us in v. 1 that Jesus is passing through Jericho. He is heading toward the climax of His ministry: He is heading toward Jerusalem and the cross. But when He comes to the spot where Zacchaeus is perched upon a limb, He stops His journey in order to attend to an important matter of business. He recognizes that the outcast up a tree is a man who is desperate for a change. He is a man who has tried his best to find fulfillment and attain success, but all his striving has left him empty. Jesus sees a man who is seeking for an answer that lies beyond himself. He sees a man in need of a Savior.