Summary: Many times we look at the story of Zach as being just for kids. However, I believe there are some interesting observations can be made from the text.
“The Story of Zach”
Beyond Flannelgraph: Treasured Stories, Timeless Truths – Week 2
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Text: Luke 19:1-10
C.S. Lewis says of true friendship, “True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit.”
I’m thankful for the friends that God has given me in my life. My friends have encouraged me, they have strengthened me, they have prayed for me, they have stood by me and they’ve even been willing to confront me when I’ve been an idiot! I’m thankful for my friends…but I’m especially thankful for a friend of mine who sticks closer to me than a brother. I’m especially thankful for a friend of mine who has promised never to leave me or forsake me. I’m thankful for the friendship I have in Christ.
Today we’re not only celebrating friends…but we’re also continuing a series we started last week called “Beyond Flannelgraph”. Over the next few weeks we’re going to re-examine treasured stories to learn timeless truths.
Today’s story shows us the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus knows that this will be His last Passover with His disciples. He knows that He’s heading for his arrest, trial and crucifixion. But on His way to Jerusalem He stops at a center of commerce and trade…It’s a thriving town called Jericho and it’s where our story takes place and a friendship is formed.
Many times we look at the story of Zach as being just for kids. However, I believe there are some interesting observations can be made from the text. As I was reading and preparing for this message I saw some things that I would like to share with you in the time we have. First I saw…
1. A Man Who Was Not Satisfied – vs. 2-4
We define satisfaction as the “fulfillment of ones wishes, expectations or needs.” It seems that everyone is looking for satisfaction…however this idea of being satisfied seems to be illusive.
The Rolling Stones recorded and made famous the song that said “I can’t get no satisfaction” and I believe that to be the state of a majority of people around us today.
Our culture tells us that in order to be satisfied we’ve got to purchase a bigger house, or lease a nicer car. They tell us that we’ve got to wear the most expensive brands and we’ve got to get the most prestigious degrees. They tell us that we’ve got to climb the corporate ladder and we’ve got to have the right portfolio. Many people buy into this philosophy…only to find that when they’ve achieved all their hopes and dreams, when they’ve got a firm grasp on that illusive brass ring…they still aren’t satisfied.
Although they’ve achieved great things, they feel empty and they don’t know why.
I have to believe Zacchaeus was caught up in this vicious cycle…believe me, this philosophy is not new…it’s been around since the Garden of Eden. It was in the garden that Satan convinced Eve that she was being cheated. He told her there was something more to go after and if she just listened to him and did what he said, she would finally be satisfied.
The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun…people have always looked for satisfaction and they’ve looked in all the wrong places.
In this story we see a man who was not satisfied even though…
Zacchaeus was a powerful man – “the chief among the publicans”
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.”
Zacchaeus worked for the Roman IRS…he was a publican and was employed by the Roman government to collect taxes from other Jews. This occupation was not well respected…as a matter of fact, the Jews considered these men to be traitors. The Jewish people did not like Roman control…they did not like the Roman government and they did not like anyone who would carry out the orders of the Emperor.