September 17, 2017

Small in Stature but Great in Grace

Luke 19:1-10 (NASB)

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

As Jesus was approaching Jericho, he saved blind Bartimeus, which we read about in chapter 18. He passed through Jericho and healed two blind men sitting by the road outside town (Matt. 20:29-34). A short distance further out of Jericho He passes a sycamore tree, and there is a “little man” in the tree.

  1. Jesus is a Friend to those small in stature or low in character.
    Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5). “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Seek and save.
    1. The lost are not liked by the morally upright and religious. “He’s a guest of a sinner” (v. 7).
    2. The lost have done immoral things to get ahead in this world. “A chief tax collector” (v. 2).
      Chief tax collectors lied, embezzled, cheated and swindled their fellow countrymen for Rome.
    3. The lost may think themselves great but they are actually small. “He was small in stature” (v. 3).
      When all is said and done, after collecting all you’ve won, there’s only emptiness instead of fun. That which is worth cherishing in life are the very things that people only see as important at the end of life. Young people, remember this truth: Character counts. Jesus alone changes the heart.

  2. God’s grace given will always transform the character of His people.
    Nobody who has met Christ will revel in his sin or celebrate the darkness. Grace transforms the heart.
    1. A desire to know Jesus is the greatest gift you’ve ever been given.
      Why do we call it a gift? “There is nobody who seeks God, no not one” (Romans 3:11). Which is first, the sinner seeking Jesus or Jesus seeking the sinner? “Hurry down, for I must stay at your house” (v. 5). “Call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
    2. Knowing Jesus means you “hurry and do” what the Master says.
      “Hurry and come down,” Jesus said. And Zacchaeus “hurried and came down” (Luke 19:6).
    3. Doing what Jesus says comes from a heart full of joy (e.g. rejoicing).
      “And Zacchaeus received Jesus gladly” (v. 6). Do you received the Lord and His commands gladly?
    4. A heart full of joy that obeys the Master translates into a change of life.
      “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give him four times as much” (v. 8). This is true repentance. It’s a change of life. The taker becomes a giver. The hater becomes a lover. The oppressor becomes the server.

  3. Salvation in the gospel is more about a change of life than it is a change in destiny.
    Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham” (v. 9). Abraham is the father of all us who believe (Romans 4:16). We believe in God’s grace in Christ. “Whoever says, "I know Jesus," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person” (I John 2:4). Be wise and focus on Christ’s Kingdom now; not the Kingdom to come.

Hear Him, ye deaf! His praise, ye dumb!
Your loosened tongues employ!
Ye blind behold your Savior come;
And leap ye lame for joy!

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.