Summary: How do we judge others?
Schoolteacher Dodie Gadient decided to travel across American and see the sights she had taught about for the last 13 yrs. Traveling alone in a truck with a camper in tow, she launched out. One afternoon rounding a curve on I-5 near Sacramento in rush-hour traffic the water pump blew on her truck. She was tired, exasperated, scared and alone. In spite of the traffic jam she caused, no on seemed interested in helping. Leaning up against the trailer she prayed, Please Lord send me an angel, preferably one with mechanical experience. Within 4 minutes a huge Harley drove up ridden by an enormous man sporting long black hair, a beard and tattooed arms. With an incredible air of confidence, he jumped off and without even glancing at Dodie went to work on the truck. Within another few minutes, he flagged down a larger truck, attached a tow chain to the frame of the disabled Chevy and whisked the whole 56-ft rig off the freeway onto a side street where he calmly continued to work on the water pump. The intimidated, schoolteacher was too dumbfounded to talk. Especially when she read the paralyzing words on the back of his leather jacket: Hell's Angels. As he finished the task, she finally got up the courage to say Thank you. Noticing her amazement at the whole ordeal, he looked her straight in the eye and said don't judge a book by its cover. With that he smiled, closed the hood of the truck and straddled his Harley. With a wave he was gone as fast as he had appeared.
We all do that don't we - judge books by their covers
We make judgments about people with out really knowing much about them
We look at what they are wearing: hair, skinny, fat, tall, short
What they do for living and where they live
Have you ever been unjustly sized up by another person
Or because what you have done in your past found people unwilling accept you
In Luke we learn of a man who wished for that same thing
Zaccheus was a man who was not well liked or accepted in Jericho
You see he had a bad reputation - a reputation which he had earned - tax collector
Nobody likes paying taxes and we don't like the ones who collect the taxes
Zaccheus was no ordinary tax collector, He was the Head tax collector for that area
Tax collectors were regarded as worst kind of sinners . . .
They were considered the scum of earth, liars and cheats
Unworthy to be called sons of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people
The Jews had some valid reasons for this attitude:
Romans had military control over Israel and used Jews to collect taxes
This solved some of their enforcement problems
To be a tax collector one had to bid for the position
Like you would bid at an auction with the position going to the highest bidder
In order for him to regained his investment he had to inflate the tax
This gained them the reputation for being notoriously unscrupulous
They also became quite wealthy at expense of their fellow countrymen
Tax collectors were collecting taxes for a foreign power
By this activity they were indirectly supporting Israel's occupation
Paying taxes was such a sore spot with the Jews - moral dilemma in Luke 20
Because tax collectors worked with Gentiles they were considered unclean
No religious Jew would associate with them
Tax collectors were deemed traitors to their community
That is the kind of man Zaccheus was, he had chosen way of life that separated . . .
One day a teacher intercepted note it said: Everyone who hates Bob sign here. By now the note which was on its way to Bob had been signed by all the students in his 4th grade. Bob not only had no friends, but he was the object of intense loathing. Bob showed no obvious distress at being disliked. His teacher in an effort to learn something of Bob's deeper feelings asked him how he behaves in a number of hypothetical situations. Bob answered each question with, I don't know; His teacher though that he was merely being uncooperative until she finally asked him to say how he felt when playing with a friend. Bob looked up at her & with tears in his eyes said, I don't know; I don't have any friends.
Despised and hated by men, Zaccheus was looking for a real friend
Just prior to Jesus entering Jericho
He had told his disciples how difficult it was for a rich man to enter heaven
He said that it was easier for camel to go through the eye of needle
Than for rich man to enter the Kingdom God