Sermons

Summary: Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus is a foretaste of how our Lord will impact our lives and will: Redeem The Past, Transform The Present And Redirect the Future.

For those not familiar with an Anglican Service there are four Scripture readings prior to the Message. Today's passages were Habakkuk 1: 1-4; 2:1-4 - Psalm 119:137-144 - 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12 and Luke 19:1-10.

Zacchaeus ... Just his name is enough to elicit a grin.

As children, ... we sang a little song about him; ...... we drew pictures of him in Sunday School ... and made him to be a sort of...... "Mini-Me" character.

The story of Zacchaeus' encounter with Jesus .... is one of the best-known Biblical stories .... from the New Testament.

It is such a human story... a short man scrambling up a tree .... to see Jesus.

All of us have known the burden of being too short to see over others ... at some point in our life, maybe as a child ... so we identify with these words: (Pick up the Bible)

BIBLE "He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not... because he was short in stature." END

We think of Zacchaeus ...... and we smile.

And yet...... let me challenge that notion today .... and suggest that this is one of the most powerful and provocative stories .... in all of scripture.

It introduces the very radical notion ....... that God will stop at nothing less ....... than the total transformation .... (Slow) of who we are.

Let's take a careful look at Zacchaeus ....... and the world that he lived in.

The city of Jericho .... was a veritable Eden.

An oasis of date palms .... and balsam groves, .... it exported its products throughout the known world.

There was a day when Mark Anthony had presented Jericho ...... as a gift to Cleopatra, ... with Arabia thrown in.

It lay along the great car-a-van routes, ...... and it was a beehive of commercial .... and human activity.

Now.... Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector for the Roman empire in this ... prospering city.

He probably had a staff of tax collectors, ... and Zacchaeus was, possibly, ... the most hated man ... in all of Jericho.

He worked for the occupying forces, ......and he was regarded as a traitor ... to his own people.

He and his cohorts ... could stop a person in Jericho ... and assess duties ... on nearly everything in his or her possession.

A cart, ... could be taxed for each wheel, ...... for the animal that pulled it, ...... and for the merchandise that it carried.

He would send to Rome the amount he had bid for the right to tax, ...... and anything over that amount ...... he was free to keep.

The system was ripe for abuse, ... and this passage tersely states: ... Quote ... "he was rich" ...... as if that were some kind of indictment ....... and it was.

He had accumulated his wealth in service to the invaders ...... at the expense of his countrymen, ....... and he was regarded ... as human filth.

Zacchaeus, ... whose name meant ... "the pure one" or ... "the righteous," ....... had turned his name .... into a sneer on the lips of his fellow Jews.

The mention of his name surely evoked not a grin ...... but disgust.

The money was nice, .... to be sure.

But to live as an outcast .... among your own people.

Why? ... it must have been a lonely and depressing existence. (Pause)

But on this day...... The word is out that this rabbi ... this Nazarene named Jesus ... was coming through town....... And he is different.

In the parables .... In the stories Jesus tells, ...... it is the tax collector who's the hero ... and the Pharisee ... who is the foil!

This Jesus comes into town with a reputation for being comfortable with those on the fringes of society....... children, women, and those rejected by the trends of culture.

They found in Jesus ... a listening ear .... a warm reception.

He was worth seeking out.

But, that was easier said than done.

Zacchaeus was short in stature, ... or as we would say today ....... He was vertically challenged.

And seeing over ... or through a crowd ... was a real chore.

Trying to squeeze through a crowd ... to the front ... was no sure thing.

Sharp elbows would surly fly ...when the townspeople saw ...... the hated Zacchaeus.

His only hope was to skirt ahead of the crowd ... and find a sycamore tree, .......

It's low spreading branches ... would afford a ringside view of this man called Jesus.

(Slow) And that is exactly what he did.

He waited there in that tree, ... probably not knowing exactly what to expect, ... than Jesus came into view.

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Talk about it...

David Benjamin

commented on Apr 17, 2015

hmm. there are parts of this sermon that are found verbatim in a sermon on Day One by Bill Wilson; cf. http://day1.org/813-changed_from_a_taker_to_a_giver

J Jeffrey Smead

commented on Apr 17, 2015

David Thank-you I try very hard to give credit to the appropriate parties (See other sermons). Sometimes I will begin writing a Sermon then come back to it weeks latter and have miss-placed sources. I will add appropriate acknowledgement at the end. Blessings in Christ Jeff

Anthony Brown

commented on Nov 1, 2015

Great job Jeff!

J Jeffrey Smead

commented on Nov 1, 2015

Thank-you for taking time to comment and thank-you for your kind words. Blessings Always Jeff

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