Meeting Jesus: Zacchaeus

“Seek and You will Find”
A Message on Luke 19:1-10
Jacksonville First United Methodist Church
By Amber Jones, Associate Pastor

Luke 19:1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “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.”

Jesus said to him, “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.”

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Do you remember the Nursery rhyme :

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And when the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree
And said, ‘Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today.

Jesus, near the end of his journey to Jerusalem, is passing through the border town of Jericho. In that town is a man named Zacchaeus who is not just a tax collector but a chief tax ,he is rich. He wants to see Jesus, but because he is short, he cannot see over the crowds, so he climbs a tree. When Jesus arrives at the place where Zacchaeus rested himself on the tree, he calls him down and invites himself to Zacchaeus’ home, which simultaneously brings Zacchaeus joy and shame.

For our time here together this morning I want to speak from the subject :

Seek and you shall find.

What is the first thing we do when we Lose something? We go and search for it.

The reason why we go and search for is because that thing that has been lost serves a purpose. You’re not sure where you had it last or what you need to start to do in order to find it but you do it even if you are the size of Zacchaeus. He we in my opinion to extreme measures to search for what seemed to be lost amongst a crowd of people.

But what do we do when we’ve not only lost something in the natural but in the spiritual aspect of life. What do we do to obtain our relationship, or our spiritual connection?

I believe in my sanctified imagination:

Zacchaeus was searching for HOPE!

A little background concerning Zacchaeus. The text offers up some warning sign pertaining to Zacchaeus, things what would offer a glimpse of some of the obstacles this man would face.

Today when we think of tax collectors, or the IRS, we probably do not have a warm fuzzy feeling come upon us.

If we are told we are about to be audited by the IRS, we probably are not feeling too well inside.

There was a great deal of dishonesty that was associated with this practice.

Zacchaeus was a man who would have been despised by his own people, even if he was honest because Zacchaeus was collecting taxes for Rome.

So red flag one, Zacchaeus probably felt alone and rejected.

Being rich is not a crime, but Jesus spoke a lot being rich and how that could inhibit one coming to God because they do not think they had the need.

God does not condemn wealth, but he wants us to not rely on that wealth rather to rely on God.

Imagine living a life where you are despised and forsaken.

Zacchaeus, a man who had it all, yet had nothing. Do you know people who are in that boat?

So here is a man without hope, yet he finds out Jesus is in town. Maybe he can find what he is looking for in Jesus?

Many came to Jesus to see if He would perform a miracle, others came out of curiosity, why did Zacchaeus seek to see Jesus?

I believe he was looking for hope.

Zacchaeus was searching for hope!

So, he knows the route Jesus would have to take, so Zacchaeus runs ahead of Jesus and he climbs a tree, PROBABLY HOPING to reach a low hanging branch.

This year in JUMY we are studying HOPE. Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

And we are encouraging our kiddos that although you cannot see it our faith in Jesus drives our HOPE.

Zacchaeus may have placed his hope in a number of areas, maybe even his wealth, yet something was missing. There was a hole inside of him. What could fill that empty spot in his heart?

How does a person like Zacchaeus seek after that hope? When he is feeling lost and rejected?

So, here is Zacchaeus, he must have looked a little ridiculous, a grown man, a wealthy man, a tax collector sitting up in a tree, hoping for something to change, hoping that HOPE would finally take note of him!

What is Zacchaeus expecting? I think he simply expects to see Jesus and hear Him teach and maybe get a feel for who He is.

BUT, true hope delivers beyond our expectations!

As Jesus approaches the tree in which Zacchaeus is perched, He looks at Zacchaeus and says ZACCHAEUS, YOU COME DOWN, FOR I AM COMING TO YOUR HOUSE TODAY.

He tells Zacchaeus to hurry down from the tree because Jesus said because today it is necessary for me to stay at your house.

The way this statement from Jesus is phrased in the Greek, it means that Jesus considered it part of His mission to go to the home of Zacchaeus!

The word NECESSARY implies that it was mission essential that Jesus does this!

So, Zacchaeus hurries down from the tree and JOYFULLY welcomed Jesus!

My brothers and sisters in Christ I am here to let you know that the Sovereign Lord says in Ezekiel 34:11: “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

Why did I read that passage? Because it is very important to know that God will provide and look after you no matter the situation.

We are reminded in Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.

So why would we doubt that God is not here when we need him the most. Before you we formed in the womb The lord knew that you would be in this opposition.

So where are you lord is the question that is resting on your heart. Know that God is always present. Despite your sin that you were forgiven of on that old rugged cross. Rest in the peace that God loves you and is willing to come and visit with you in the time of need. Hear the good news we are all seeking Jesus rather we have a good view or not. Seeking Christ in our every situation is what God has called us to do. Remember whatever circumstance that you may be facing your Destiny requires pain so that God can fulfill his promise within us, Imagine the pain that Zaccheaus was facing after being put in that position he was pushed to go and seek after God. Lastly, our HOPE in Jesus is all we need! Although we can’t see it!

I love this song by Hillsong worship:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name.

Christ alone, cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm
He is Lord, Lord of all

Zacchaeus climbed in a tree. How far would you go to search for Jesus? If you seek you will find. In the name of the Father , Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen!

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