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Homiletics I Zacchaeus final text study summary

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Luke 19:1-10

Liturgical Date: Twenty-Fourth Sunday

After Pentecost Year C

An Evangelism Message

Liturgical Setting (Bulletin Blurb):

God comes to cleanse our hearts and minds and bring renewal.  He is merciful, slow to anger, and abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness.  We may suffer affliction, but it makes us worthy of his calling.  He is coming to our hearts today in our worship.  He will return to the earth soon at the end of time when our robes will be pure white as he has washed away our sin in his blood.


Exegetical Analysis

Exegetical Statement (the text’s content)

There is no doubt Zacchaeus was a notorious sinner because he was Chief of the tax collectors.  Zacchaeus saw Jesus coming into town and wanted to get a closer look.  So he climbed up in a tree where he see Jesus but wouldn’t be seen himself.  However, Jesus was intent on encountering Zacchaeus in a more personal way.  In fact, he invited himself to his house to stay.  Zacchaeus was overjoyed to learn Jesus would even speak to him.  His encounter with Jesus changed his life to the point of repenting for his sins. Jesus pronounced salvation for Zacchaeus and forgave his sin.  Jesus has come to seek and save the lost.  Even little Zacchaeus.

The text’s intent:

Like Zacchaeus, many people reach a point in their life before faith where they are curious and want to see Jesus from a safe distance.  There may be many reasons that have prevented their inquiry before.  They may have led a sinful life and feel unworthy.  It may be someone who cared about them has never introduced them to Jesus.  When they come to investigate, they find a Jesus who is looking for them and calls them by name as though Jesus had known them all their lives.  And he has.  They are overjoyed to find that Jesus loves them already.  In spite of their faults, he wants to come to their home – their heart and stay there.  This becomes a life altering experience and they turn away from their sins.  In spite of the crowd (which includes the Church at times) they learn that Jesus has come to the world to find them.  He came to suffer the humiliation of the cross only to rise again, and rise them up on the Last Day to live with him forever. Today salvation has come to their house.

Textual Mood –

Zacchaeus – curiosity, joy, repentance

The crowd – scorn, disdain, disbelief

Jesus – love, forgiveness, a sense of mission and accomplishment of a part of that mission 

Theological Study:

Luke 19:7 is mentioned in the footnotes of Smallcald Articles Section III.2 Concerning the Law.  The law was given, in the first place to curb sin.  However, it fails because sin has worked in mankind.  The foremost office or power of the law is that it reveals inherited sin and its fruits.  This will cause terror and despair.  This can cause them to become enemies of God and murmur against him. 

Because this is an evangelistic sermon there needs to be some understanding of:

Free will – Solid Declaration Article II – conversion occurs through the working of the Holy Spirit and not through our own will.  Our salvation is entirely the result of God’s work.  Our damnation, on the other hand is the result of our rejection of God.  We cannot choose faith in God, we are only free to choose evil. 


Hearer Depiction


Original:  The book of Luke is addressed to his publisher Theophilus, but would be distributed to the general public after he received it.  It was written in a time when there were many “urban” legends about Jesus.  Many of the people probably don’t know exactly what to think and what is true.  The book is written to strengthen the believers and answer the unbelievers.  Much of the evils of Jesus and Zacchaeus’ time are still around and the hearers could readily identify with the story. 

Contemporary:  This sermon will be delivered to a mixed congregation of Boy Scouts of various denominations as well as many boys who have never even set foot in a church.  The story of Zacchaeus is contemporary to young boys because they will readily identify with him on several levels.  They know all about what it is like to be “on the outside”.    Perhaps the unchurched boys would like to get a look at Jesus from a safe distance and don’t understand how much Jesus already loves them.  So much so that he died and rose again for them.  They may not know Jesus’ mission was to come, find and save them.

Comparison:  Both the original and contemporary hearers have a lot in common.  Many have heard or come to believe things about Jesus that aren’t true.  The knowledge of sin is common to both and both need to know that Jesus comes to them in spite of their sin.  They both need to hear that Jesus’ true mission was for all men, saints and sinners alike. 


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