Faithlife Sermons

Zacchaeus Tells His Story

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Luke 19:1-10 Sermon Outline: "Zacchaeus Tells His Story"

Introduction: Story: In Florida, a 12 year-old boy was struck by a car as he rode his bicycle home from school. The driver fled the scene, leaving the boy’s broken and bleeding body in the street.  When officers arrived at the victim’s home to notify the parents of the tragedy, they were amazed to find the wanted car there. The father was discovered hiding in the attic, unaware until then that the victim was his own son. The father was sentenced to five years in state prison. His term in the prison of guilt, however, is probably for life. Thus one man’s wrongdoing came dramatically and swiftly upon his own head.

Transitional Sentence:  All of us have committed wrong-doings in our lives in which we feel shame and guilt: alcohol, divorce, abuse, lying, stealing, etc.

I.                 TWO GREAT HURTS IN PEOPLE'S LIVES (Their Story)

A.    Shame & Guilt

B.    Objective Sentence: Good News: Jesus came to offer forgiveness and salvation into our lives, no matter what wrong-doings we have committed.

C.    Transition Sentence:  We can read about this in Luke 19:1-10, in which the main character of the story also had hurts, such as shame and guilt. 

D.    I'd like to tell this story to you from Zacchaeus' perspective, adding some details (speculation) not found in the text.  Follow along in Luke 19:1-10, which will give the information found in the Bible. (Narrative Form)

II.               A REAL NEED IN ZACCHAEUS' LIFE  (Their Story Explained)

A.    Zacchaeus = Zakkai - "the just" or "pure."  Name sounded like mockery.

1.     Mocked as a boy: short, different, loner -- didn't fit in.

2.     Studied books and numbers (math).

3.     Grew up: way to get even to friends & neighbors who mocked was to collect taxes and cheat them (hated Rome, but I was embittered over my neighbors even more).

B.    A Chief Tax Collector Who Is Rich

1.     Description of tax collector: The Jews opposed forced, Roman taxes because they supported a secular government and its pagan. Tax collectors were among the most unpopular people in Israel. Jews by birth, they chose to work for Rome and were considered traitors and mere pagans. Besides, it was common knowledge that tax collectors were making themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews.

2.     Z. reached the top of his profession; and he was the most hated man in the district.

3.     Explain why Z. would feel guilty: Cheated on people for Rome -- Traitor.

4.     Tired of lifestyle of cheating.  Got old.  Felt guilty and ashamed.   Sad -- even thinking of committing suicide.  Z. needed help. 

C.    Didn't know it at the time, but Z. Needed a Savior

1.     Z., a sinner needed a Savior: Wealth, intelligence or race could not save him.

2.     Why did  he need a Savior?  -- For Forgiveness.

3.     Z. was soon to find this out.

III.             JESUS KNEW OF ZACCHAEUS NEED OF FORGIVENESS (Sense of Guilt) (A Jesus Story)

A.     Jesus Enters Jericho.

1.     Description of Jericho: A very wealthy and a very important town, which lay in the Jordan valley and commanded both the approach to Jerusalem and the crossings of the river which gave access to the lands east of the Jordan. It had a great palm forest and world-famous balsam groves which perfumed the air for miles around. Its gardens of roses were known far and wide. Men called it "The City of Palms." Josephus called it "a divine region," "the fattest in Palestine." The Romans carried its dates and balsam to world-wide trade and fame.

2.     Jericho one of the greatest taxation centers in Palestine.

3.     Christ was now going from the other side Jordan to Bethany near Jerusalem, to raise Lazarus to life; when he was going to do one good work he contrived to do many by the way. He did good both to the souls and to the bodies of people; we have here an instance of the former.

B.    Z. (short) Climbs A Tree To See Jesus (vrs. 1-4)

1.     Jesus has ministered for nearly three years.

2.     Has taught many places and has recently healed the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, whom everyone knew.

3.     Word got spread quickly Jesus was entering Jericho.

4.     Custom to meet on street and greet brethren.  A huge crowd for Jesus!

C.    Jesus Knew Z. By Name (vrs. 5)

1.     Z. had heard of Jesus and wanted to see him (very busy working, but pull of Holy Spirit to take aft. off)-- a good man, perhaps the Messiah (rumored).

2.     Ran ahead to the Sycamore tree (short trunk, wide, lateral branches, easy to climb) he had climbed as a boy to watch events.  Hit, bruised and cursed at on his way.  Felt he deserved it.

3.     Jesus stops, and calls my name, "Z. come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." (NIV)  His piercing, loving eyes, went right through Z.

D.    Jesus Initiated The Relationship With Z., And Will Do So With You.

IV.            JESUS FORGAVE ZACCHAEUS (The Jesus Story)

A.    Jesus Goes To Z.' House In Jericho To Stay (vrs. 5)

1.     Excited and glad, Z. gets down and walks with Jesus to his home.

2.     First Jew that ever treated him kindly, with love and compassion.  Small talk, asked about family and background.  Jesus wanted to get to know Z. and cared.  He never accused or blamed.

3.     The whole time, crowd muttered that Jesus would go with Z., a "sinner."  Jesus paid no attention to them.

4.     Z. prepares a meal.  Eastern culture, many people in home, including Jesus' apostles.

B.    Z. Responded And Received Jesus (vrs. 6)

1.     Afternoon and evening flew by.  Tired, Jesus put that aside and listened… and listened … and listened as Z. poured his heart out: his sorrows, his rejection, his guilt and shame.

2.     Z. knew he was wrong -- he didn't need Jesus to tell him of his sins.  Instead, Jesus stressed love, forgiveness and "rest in God."  A lifting of burdens.  Restitution.

3.     Pierces Z' heart.  He is not only convicted, but knows he is loved and can be forgiven.

C.    Z. Provided Restitution By: (vrs. 8)

1.     Asking for forgiveness isn't enough, Z. must provide restitution.

2.      Repaying those he cheated four times the amount he stole (more than required to restore under the law).

3.     Gave one half of his possessions to the poor.

4.     There's a freedom in providing the restitution!

5.     Citizens are amazed at his actions.  Is this the embittered Z. we know?

D.    Salvation Comes to Z' House: Z Is Also A Son Of Abraham

1.     Purpose: God loves Z. & he was a "son of Abraham."  This angers fellow Jews.

2.     Problem: Z. was a sinner - even a "son of Abraham" could be lost.

3.     Remedy: Jesus could forgive and accept Z. based on His death on the cross for Z.' sake.

4.     Jesus' uses this occasion and the criticism of the people in v. 7 as an opportunity to restate his mission: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (NIV)

5.     Response: Z. responded in faith to Jesus. -- It changed his life forever!


A.    Invitation:

1.     Is There Anything Hindering You From Coming To Jesus?

2.     If yes, Jesus can help you break down those barriers -- of guilt and shame.

3.     If no, why don't you come to God and confess your sins?  Jesus is faithful to forgive.

4.     God loves you, a sinner.

5.     Jesus can forgive you on the basis of His completed work on the cross.

6.     Won't you respond in faith, believe, and then commit yourself to Christ and live with Him forever?

Related Media
Related Sermons