Summary: Zacchaeus was a short man with shortcomings ! He didn’t measure up ! Do any of us ?
The Short Man With Shortcomings !
I. His Desire..........He Sought To See Vs. 1-3
a. Because of curiosity.
He obviously had heard stories about Jesus. But he had never actually seen him. He wanted to see this man for himself.....to see if the stories about him were true. Everyone person has to make their own decision concerning Christ !
b. Because of condition.
What was his condition ? He had great wealth....lacked for nothing materially.
Yet, he is empty. He has his pockets full, but his heart is empty. He is seeking for something else. He has everything.....but has nothing because the riches and material possessions still leave him empty.....void of peace......lacking happiness, and peace.
c. Because of conviction.
Perhaps unknown to Zach the emptiness in his heart.....his desire to see Christ......to find out about him was the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Apart from this work, no one can or will come to Christ !
II. His Diminutiveness........He Was Short In Stature. V. 3
a. Short in Size.
Zach didn’t measure up physically to those around him. He was shorter than the average. We may be able to stand head and shoulders above the rest physically.....we may be smarter than the average bear......we may be above everyone else on the ladder of success....but none of us measure up spiritually.
Illust. A salesman is driving down a country road when he sees a young kid in front of a barn. On the barn are 5 targets with arrows in the bulls eye of each target. Screeching to a stop he runs out to the kid amazed that this kid could shoot so well.
“Son,” he says, “how did you hit all those bulls eyes?”
“Well sir,” the boy replied, “I take the arrow and lick my fingers like this, then I take my fingers and straiten the feathers like this, take aim with my hand against my cheek, let go and where ever the arrow hits I draw a bulls eye.”
We can make the impression that we measure up....but according to the Bible....we have all fallen short ! We are all sinners !
b. Shunned by Society.
Joke: There’s a story about a local fitness center, which was offering $1,000 to anyone who could demonstrate that they were stronger than the owner of the place. Here’s how it worked. This muscle man would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and then hand the lemon to the next challenger. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop of juice out would win the money.
Many people tried over time other weightlifters, construction workers, even professional wrestlers, but nobody could do it.
One day a short and skinny guy came in and signed up for the contest. After the laughter died down, the owner grabbed a lemon and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains to the little man.
The crowd’s laughter turned to silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the manager paid out the winning prize and asked the short guy what he did for a living. “Are you a lumberjack, a weightlifter, or what?”
The man replied, “I work for the IRS.”
Zach worked for the IRS. He was a Jew, but worked for the Roman government. Being a tax-collector itself was enough to arouse anger, but being a Jewish tax collector created hatred. The tax collector themselves worked on roads, and bridges where they examined goods and appraised them. They then taxed them according to the appraisal. The tax-collector had to pay a fixed tax....but kept for himself that which he charged over and above. Zach obviously worked the system well because he had become rich, and was now the head of the IRS in Jericho. Yet because of his position he was a despised man ! Don’t you know that he lived a lonely isolated life ! He was looked upon as a renegade....a cheat, an extortioner ! He was seeking Jesus....hoping that the stories might be true that Jesus was a friend to everyone !
c. Separated by Sin.
Though his small stature prevented him from seeing over the crowds that mingled all around Jesus.....it was his spiritual shortcomings that kept him separated from Christ.
III. His Determination....... He Scaled A Sycamore.
a. Determined despite the obstacles.
Zach was determined to catch a glimpse of Jesus. He would not allow his limitations to keep him from beholding him !
b. Determined despite the opposition.
I doubt very seriously if anyone in the crowd was willing to give up their position to a man as despised as Zach.
No one was going to put them upon their shoulders where he could see !