Key Text: Luke 19:1-10
Jesus knew the name of the wee little man in the tree, why? Because when Jesus looks at us, he perceives the desire of our heart, and when our heart wants him, He comes closer and gets to know everything about us, even the number of hairs on our head, Isa. 43:1, Jer. 1:5, Mat. 10:30. Do the eyes of our heart desire to see Him and follow Him? This was true of Nathaniel, Jn. 1:47-50. Zacchaeus was a man who spent most of his life running from God. Then one day he decided to run towards Jesus and was found by God. What exactly leads us to learn more about Jesus? Zacchaeus was not only rich, but he was a “chief” tax collector. Jesus directly invited himself into Zacchaeus’ hospitality. We can not get a better example of eagerness to share our faith. Being able to invite our self into sharing our faith, is essential, if we want to be like Jesus. Yes it is true, Jesus could perceive the desire of Zacchaeus to come to his own house, so therefore Jesus was not being rude in inviting himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus read the thoughts of people’s mind, see Matthew 9:4, 12:25 & Luke 6:8.
If we want to see Jesus today, we cannot just stand to watch out for him, we must climb a tree. What does that mean? Our physical eyes cannot see the Spirit of Christ, but if we pray that our spiritual eyes can see, they will, Eph. 1:16-18. His Spirit lives in Christians, Rom. 8:9 But if we should see someone climb a tree to learn the truth, would we not be safely assuming he is interested enough, for us to create a conversation? People don’t wear signs saying, “I’m desperate, I’m seeking God”, so what cues might they give us, to show they are ready to “climb a tree” and/or hear about Jesus? Many Christians simply will not talk about Jesus, unless they are first approached. But how many of us would be pro-active in creating a conversation, if we should see some kind of interest? If not, why not? What may Zacchaeus have heard and believed about Jesus that made him so eager to catch a glimpse of Jesus? v3-4. Could Matthew the tax collector have had some kind of influence on Zacchaeus?
Why would the public ‘talking’ of Jesus to Zacchaeus give him mixed feelings? (v5-6). Tax collectors were ostracized from Jewish society because they collaborated with the Roman occupation forces. What risk does Jesus take in entering Zacchaeus’ home? v7. How do Zacchaeus’ actions indicate the authenticity of his repentance? v8, read Lev. 6:1-5 & Ex. 22:1.
Zacchaeus had been seeking Jesus, but in verse 10, Jesus had come seeking Zacchaeus. How can it help us to know that the Lord actively seeks the friends you are talking to? This is proof that rich people can be saved, it is very hard, but with God, all things are possible, Lk. 18:24-27 & 19:9-10. Zacchaeus proved it. The Spirit of Jesus Christ in your spirit continues to seek and save those who are lost. As his disciple, what can you do to follow his example and invite people to hear the truth about Jesus? Will you need to change your direction and bear fruit in order for Christ’s Spirit to find your friend? Read Luke 3:8 and Matthew 3:8-9.
Some of our sins have consequences which are impossible to restore. What can be done in the face of the costs of our sin, which make us bankrupt? Trust in His grace and stay submissive. Would the skeptics of Jesus consider Zacchaeus ‘seeking Jesus” genuinely, just because he climbed a tree? Even after Zacchaeus expressed his desire to repent, would the skeptics really believe Zacchaeus could become a saint? Remember that some of the skeptics in the crowd may have been personally defrauded by Zacchaeus.