Summary: Can any church or individual really commit to change as a way of life?
Luke 19: 1 – 10 / Zach
There was once a fitness center that offered $1,000 to anyone who could demonstrate they were stronger than the owner. The owner would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass. Then, he would hand the lemon to the challenger. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people tried. One day a short, skinny guy came to try to win the $1,000. The owner grabbed a lemon and squeezed away and then handed the remains to the little man. The man clenched his fist around the lemon and 6 drops fell into the glass. As he paid out the $1,000 the owner asked what the man did for a living. The man replied, “I work for the IRS.” (Wee Lil Man by Spencer Homan, SermonCentral.com)
I. In VBS or Church School you may have learned about just such a man. Zacchaeus. Vs. 2 - 3
A. He was a little man (The Greek word for “short” literally means “the body of an undeveloped child.”) with a big, bad reputation. He was rich at the expense of other people, but that did not bother him! – Chief tax collector – he took a cut from every other tax collector in his area.
B. He was influential – people would make deals with him in order to avoid paying too much tax. He could use his power to extort money from people. He was rich, professionally successful and powerful.
C. People hated him and did not trust his family. He probably had to protect himself from his enemies. Socially, he was an outsider.
II. Vs. 4 – He RAN & CLIMBED He wanted a clear, unblocked view of Jesus. Perhaps he was a bit “star-struck” wanting to see this person who all the buzz was about.
A. At the time of Jesus it was “unseemly” for a grown man to run. It was considered behavior beneath a grown adult and something only a slave or lower-class person would do.
B. He climbed a sycamore tree. (A tree with branches from the ground up. An easy thing to do even for a short person.) This was also something a grown man did not do. Zacchaeus threw the barriers of tradition and social etiquette out the window.
C. Would we be willing to do the same? Can we knock down the barriers of history, indifference, social status, tradition?
III. Would you be willing to climb a tree to see Jesus? Did Zacchaeus know his life would be changed?
A. If Zach knew his life would be changed forever, do you think he would have climbed that tree? Would you? Or would you hold back fearing change?
B. It is easier to keep doing what we like to or things that we are used to doing our way. It is much easier to maintain the status quo than to venture into the unknown.
C. Change is hard, change is yucky. When we change we leave the familiar behind and feel out of control. John Calvin said “We cannot aspire to God in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.” (Institutes, Chapter 1, paragraph 1) Handing control of our lives to God is the greatest change we can make as a person and as a church.
Conclu: Look at what happened to Zach when he did just that. VV. 8 – 10 – Salvation comes when we change our direction and hand our lives over to God holding nothing back.
THE KEY QUESTION IS THIS: ARE WE WILLING, AS INDIVIDUALS AND CORPORATELY AS A CHURCH, TO STAND WITH ZACH AND COMMIT TO CHANGE ESPECIALLY WHEN IT CALLS FOR FINANCIAL AND PHYSICAL COMMITMENT?