Summary: Some people are sell outs. They turn their backs on family and friends for opportunity or wealth. What's your price? Have you sold out or been sold out by friends unjustly? Jesus enters a town famous for its sell outs and offers forgiveness & salvation
The View from Here
We are now in the third week of our journey with Jesus as He makes His way to Jerusalem to receive the agony and glory that await. Three weeks ago Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and caused a great stir in Bethany.
This stir also affected Caiaphas the Chief Priest who determined it best to see Jesus killed before all the people began to follow Him. Jesus knowing their hearts moved north back into Judea near the Jordan River.
Last week Jesus encountered the Rich Young Ruler who though rich lacked one thing.
An understanding of the cross and a desire to lay earthly riches aside in order to gather eternal treasure by following Jesus.
Mark 8:36 New International Version
36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
Today we are four weeks away from Easter as we continue to walk with Jesus as He engages the people with living faith. We find Jesus in that famous city of Jericho where Joshua fought that decisive battle so long ago. We would do well to pause here and recount the events of that Jericho battle plan.
It involved a young woman named Rahab who was a citizen of Jericho and a prostitute. She lived at the very edge of the kingdom of Jericho high in an apartment on the outer wall. Joshua Chapter 2
Even among her own people she was an outsider. Most likely because of what she did for a living. But the Bible tells us she cared for her parents and brothers and sisters as well as their children.
Her actions saved two of Joshua’s men and in return they promised to spare Rahab and her family when they came to conquer Jericho. The agreement was “Our lives for your lives”. Joshua 2:14
As Jesus walks into Jericho there is someone sitting up high but they are not sitting along the wall of the city. This person is sitting up high in a sycamore tree - Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus is the Chief Tax Collector of Jericho employed by the Romans to collect taxes from the Jewish citizens. Zacchaeus is also Jewish but because of how he makes a living he like Rahab is also an outsider among his own people.
With a throng of people all around Him Jesus stops and looks up calling to this little man. “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:5
Jesus knew him by name and in front of all the people who despised him Zacchaeus was honored by Jesus.
All the people began to mutter. Mutter, mutter, and mutter. “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
Zacchaeus was a wealthy man much like the Rich Young Ruler we looked at last week. Being the Chief Tax Collector Zacchaeus has stolen money from his own countrymen for years and had enriched himself in the process.
When Zacchaeus meets Jesus something wonderful happens. Unlike the Rich Young Ruler who had to be instructed about what he lacked Zacchaeus seemed to know intuitively.
“Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Luke 19:8
Jesus responds to Zacchaeus confession and repentance by proclaiming “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too, is a son of Abraham.” For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9-10
Saints Rahab and Zacchaeus were both treated as outcasts by their own people. Both of them made a living by compromising themselves with sin.
Rahab sold her body to make a living and Zacchaeus sold his Jewish heritage by becoming a chief servant of the Romans who were enemies of the Jews.
Who among us would you consider a sell out?
Who among us would you consider an outsider even though they are one of us?
What charge do you hold over them?
Have they been divorced?
Do they come from a different Christian tradition than our own?
Is it a single mother with three young children all from different fathers?
Are they from the other side of the tracks? Lacking social graces and good manners.
What is the view from here?
Have we pushed them out by our muttering?
Have we pushed them out by our ridicule and finger wagging?
Do they sit on the very fringe of the church because we judge them unworthy?
Jesus told the crowd that Zacchaeus was “a son of Abraham” Luke 19:9
In saying this Jesus was saying that Zacchaeus was an heir to all the promises of God that were bestowed on Abraham and all his descendants.