Summary: The story of Zacchaeus with a new twist. Interview sermon for Faith Church of the Nazarene.
Lk. 19.1-10 “When Wee Encounters Grace”
1. A friend of mine interviewed recently at a medium sized church. At the close of the service, after he had preached, he stood by the back door to greet the people as they left. One by one they passed by him, many with a nod, or a smile, or a good message. However, one lady that shook my friends hand looked at him and said, “that was the poorest sermon I’ve ever heard.” Shocked my friend didn’t know how to respond so he just shook her hand and smiled back. A few minutes later, however, she came to him again and she said, “that was the poorest sermon I’ve ever heard and you didn’t even preach it well.” Once again, he was at a loss about what to say so he shook her hand and tried to smile. The line was almost through when he looked up and sure enough there she was again. He wondered, what could she possibly have to say now?” When she greeted him this time, she said, “that was the poorest sermon I’ve ever heard, you didn’t preach it well, and if they call you to be the new pastor, I’m never coming back.” As the church board secretary was walking my friend down to the fellowship hall, the question of how friendly the people were came up and my friend said, “you know there was a woman who greeted me three different times.” “Oh,” the church board secretary said, “you don’t have to worry about her. She just goes around repeating what she hears everyone else saying.”
2. Do you have your Bibles with you this morning? I have a quick question as you are getting them ready. How many of you when you saw this title thought, “What’s wrong with this guy? Doesn’t he know how to speak proper English?” I do actually. And I think at the end of this message, you’ll know what I mean. But I need your help this morning. There’s a song I learned as a kid in Sunday School and I’ve asked the worship leader if she will help us this morning by reminding us of what it is. [Sing Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man].
3. Turn with me in your Bibles this morning to Luke 19.1-10 as we read the story of Zacheus together. [Read text]
4. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever given thought to the person of Zachaeus, to what he looked like or what he must have been like but I have wondered about that and in my mind’s eye, I have a character developed that I’d like to share with you this morning.
5. The song we sang said [sing song], and the scripture says that Zacchaeus was too short to see over the crowd. And in my mind’s eye, I imagine Zacchaeus was born short. But that was only the start of his problems. You see, not only was Zacchaeus born short, he stayed short. He was the smallest kid in his kindergarten class and all through elementary the kids made fun of him. Keep away was their favorite game and he never could quite jump up high enough to get whatever item they had stolen from him. He would get so mad he would start to cry and they would make fun of him and call him Zachweus. Kids can be cruel you know.
6. It didn’t get any better in junior high either. He grew alright but so did all of his classmates. So on a regular basis, he was stuffed into a locker, or trashcan or just pushed aside, the books knocked out of his hand. He was constantly picked on and made fun of because he was so short. He learned a little bit how to defend himself but it was never quite enough. The kids only got more cruel as they grew up.
7. High school was more of the same and then it was college. He was a smart kid but still a short kid and still the brunt of the jokes of some people. He did find one or two friends in college but no one he ever felt he could really trust. He was alone and bitter and angry. It was on one of those days that he happened past the career board at college where he saw this listing, “Tax collectors wanted. Collect for us, keep the rest.” And he knew what his calling was going to be. If he couldn’t get back physically at those who hurt him, he would get back at them financially. And that’s what he did. He dug into their pockets. All of his childhood classmates. All those who called him Zachweus. All of those who ever made fun of him or put him into a locker. All of those who had made his life a nightmare, he had his chance to get back at them. He had his chance to settle the score, finally. And he took full advantage of it.