Summary: A clear call to become a Christ follower
Show Me the Way.
Luke 19:1-10 (The Message)
Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
Jesus said that He came to find and restore the lost. It is an interesting and very clear teaching.
It is a theme that is repeated in the teachings of Jesus on a regular basis.
As far back as the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, we hear God speaking through the prophet with these words:
“For thus says the Lord God: Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick. . .” Ez. 34: 11,16
In the New Testament we see the reoccurring theme over and over:
“. . .go to the lost sheep of Israel.” Math. 10:6
“. . .I was not sent except to the lost house of Israel” Math. 15:24
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Math. 18:11
We have always been obsessed with stories about the lost.
Amelia Earhart and her missing plane.
Stories from the so-called Bermuda triangle.
Television and movies have been made around the theme of being lost.
The Lost World
Land of the Lost
Lost in Space
Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.
We live in a society where much attention is paid to missing and lost children. (Milk carton’s and missing children posters.)
What does it mean to be lost?
Lost: (Webster) Unable to find the way
No longer visible
Lacking assurance or self confidence
Ruined/destroyed physically or morally
Lost people may experience some of the following:
fear, hopelessness, hunger, or no sense of direction.
I remember when I was a little boy the feeling of being lost. More times than I like to remember I would become separated from my parents in stores and spend time frantically looking in aisle after aisle for them. Of course it didn’t help that every other sermon in the late sixties and early seventies was about the coming and impending return of Jesus. We were expecting to be raptured from this earth at any moment. The Christians would all be taken in a moment of time and everyone else would be left behind to face the evils of the tribulation. I of course knew that I probably wasn’t ready to go and so therefore would jump to the conclusion that my parents were gone and I was left. There is nothing worse than being lost or feeling that you are lost.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector. This was without doubt, the most hated position one could be in. The Jews were under the Roman Rule and the Romans were demanding taxes to be paid. In order to collect the taxes they hired Jewish men to become tax collectors. They were considered traitors. They were extremely dishonest. They often charged more than was necessary and kept the extra money for themselves.
The Romans had no respect for tax collectors because they were willing to sell out their own people.
The Jews hated the tax collectors for obvious reasons.
He was lonely. He was despised. He had no friends to speak of. He had money and wealth but no joy.
Being Lost is not a preacher word, or a church word.
“Lost” is God’s word.
Being lost means emptiness and being without Christ.
Robert Naylor said. “If you have Jesus, you are safe. If you do not have Him, you are lost”
When a person is lost, they are alienated and a stranger to the sovereignty of God.
Lost people matter to God. That’s why this story and other like it are all through the Bible. Lost people are why God challenged the church to exist.