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66 Luke 19.1-10

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Luke 19:1-10

Through the Eye of the Needle

v    There is that funny scene in “When Harry met Sally” when they are having an argument over who has a darker side to their personalities

Ø     Harry says to Sally:

§        When I buy a new book I always read the last page first that way in case I die before I finish I know how it ends.  That my friend is a dark side.

v    I’d like us to do something different today

Ø     Let’s read that last line in our text today first

READ 19:10



Ø     And his life and mission is summed up absolutely perfectly in verse 10…

§        “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”

v    I think that verse 10 is the key to not only this story about Zacchaeus…

Ø     But Jesus’ whole life and ministry

§        We have been working our way through Luke’s gospel since October 2004

·        Here we are at the end of Jesus’ 3 years life and mission

·        During that time we have witnessed Jesus encounter 12 different people

¨     People of different socio-economic backgrounds

¨     People from different moral and ethical backgrounds

¨     Sick people and healthy people

¨     Young and old

¨     Men and women

Ø     But they all had one thing in common

§        They were lost people


v    You see…

Ø     There are two types of lost

§        Not knowing where you are

·        Illustration

¨     My mother always told me that you are never lost if you have your mouth

¨     You can always go up to someone and ask where you are

Ø     Wrong!

§        E.g. Japan

Ø     But then there is another type of lost…

§        Not knowing where you are going

·        And in every encounter we have witnessed

¨     Jesus seeks out this type of “lostness” and corrects it

Ø     The Paralytic (5)

§        Friend, your sins are forgiven

Ø     The Centurion (7)

§        I have not found such great faith even in Israel!

Ø     The Sinful woman who anoints Jesus (7)

§        Your faith has saved you, go in peace

Ø     The Bleeding woman (8)

§        Your faith has healed you, go in peace

Ø     The Crippled woman on Sabbath (13)

§        Woman, you are set free from your infirmity

Ø     The 10 lepers healed of leprosy (17)

§        Rise and go, your faith has made you well

Ø     The Blind beggar (18)

§        Your faith has healed you

Ø     And the R.Y.R. (18)

§        Offered salvation, but turned and went away

·        He took the other road that leads away from the gates of the celestial city

¨     He remained lost

v    Here we have the final encounter

Ø     The final time recorded that Jesus seeks and saves a lost person

§        The well known story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

READ V. 1-4 ~ The Pursuit

v    Recount the story

Ø     Jesus enter Jericho

§        Not the original

·        The new built one mile apart

§        Jericho a wealthy city at the crossroads of the trading route from the east

Ø     Again here is a person who could not get close to Jesus

§        Just like woman bleeding, Blind Bartemaus

Ø     He could not see Jesus because of two reasons

§        First, he was short

§        Second, he was hated

·        The crowd was not going to give Zacchaeus any special treatment…

¨     He was a tax collector!

Ø     They were hated

Ø     They were hated not only because they worked for the occupying Romans

§        They took advantage of their position and extorted money from their own countrymen

Ø     Now Zacchaeus was not only a tax collector…

§        But a Chief Tax Collector (ἀρχιτελώνης) “architelones”

·        Only time this word is used in NT

¨     Zacchaeus was in charge of tax collections for the whole region

Ø     3 inland regions

§        Caesarea in North

§        Capernaum in the middle

§        And Jericho in the south

Ø     So, at the top of the “hate pyramid” sat Zacchaeus

§        And this crowd was certainly not going to make room for a person such as this

·        And Zacchaeus knew this

v    But he was an ingenious man

Ø     He did not get to where he was by chance!

§        So he looked ahead and saw a tree in the distance

·        An easy tree to climb, a sycamore fig tree

¨     So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed

v    He wanted to see Jesus

Ø     Why?

§        Perhaps he just wanted to get a glimpse of this famous man

·        Just like we do when we hear that one of our famous residents is in town

§        Perhaps he wanted to get a glimpse of the man who lured the tax collector Matthew away from his post

§        Perhaps he heard that Jesus was known to eat and drink with tax collectors like himself

§        Perhaps he was just curious…

·        “What could Jesus do for me?”

¨     Maybe dissatisfied with life

¨     Maybe dissatisfied with wealth

Ø     We are not told

§        But Zacchaeus climbed that tree in order to see the man Jesus

v    I think that there are many Zacchaeus’ in this world

Ø     “Tree-climbers” where Jesus is concerned

§        People who are curious about who Jesus is

§        People who ask a fleeting question about salvation

§        People who are dissatisfied with life

·        And are looking for answers

§        People who have an illness or scars that they want cured

·        They think maybe religion has the answers

Ø     I call them “Tree Climbers”

§        People who have just enough curiosity to make an effort…

·        To “climb a tree” to see Jesus

v    I think that is what Zacchaeus is doing…

Ø     Seeking Jesus

§        And he is successful

·        Look at verses 5-6

READ V. 5-6 ~ The Divine Appointment

v    The Bible is full of verses that tell us that we seek Jesus

Ø     Jer 29:13

§        You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart

v    But what Scripture also teaches is that man can only seek God so far

Ø     Man can only approach so close

§        That man can only search for God

·        Man can only climb a tree

¨     It is God who calls us down and saves!

Ø     And that is what this text shows us

§        Zacchaeus climbs a tree and would have been content watching Jesus pass by

·        But it is Jesus who calls him down

¨     Look at how V. 5 shows us this

Ø     “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I MUST stay at your house”


v    What we realize when we read this verse is that this is a divine appointment

Ø     This meeting was not a coincidence

§        It was divinely choreographed in God’s sovereignty

·        Look at the evidence within the text…

v    Notice…

§        Jesus calls him by name!

·        Jesus looks right up into the tree and calls Zacchaeus by name

¨     He knew Zacchaeus would be in that tree

¨     He knew one of his lost sheep was I that sycamore tree

Ø     John 10:5

§        He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out

·        And that is what he is doing with Zacchaeus

Ø     Secondly, notice…

§        Jesus declares that he “must” stay at his house

·        Why is it so imperative that Jesus stay at Zacchaeus’ house?

¨     Because this meeting has been preordained before the foundations of the earth

·        Zacchaeus is an Eph 1:5 & 11 man!

¨     He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

¨     In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will

v    Zacchaeus was predestined to be in that tree

Ø     So many people struggle with predestination

§        But I love this doctrine!

·        And I will give you 3 reasons why…

Ø     It Shows that God has a plan

§        How would you feel if you hired a builder to build your house and he showed up without the blueprints?

·        The doctrine of predestination shows me that Yahweh has a plan for saving people!

¨     A plan that he forged in the council of the Godhead

Ø     Before time began

§        There is a saying…

·        If you aim at nothing, you usually hit it

¨     God has his elect in his sights

Ø     And he never misses!


Ø     Predestination displays the Love of God

§        If God is omniscient and knows everything from the beginning of time to the end…

§        If he is the divine “I AM”

·        He knew that man would revolt

·        He knew that man would thumb his nose at him

·        He knew that we would as a race, turn our backs on him

¨     Yet he still carries through with his loving plan to save

Ø     Romans 5:6-8

§        You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ø     Eph 2, Rom 5 calls us…

§        “Enemies of God”

§        I don’t know about you…

·        But that makes Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross that much more loving


Ø     It shows that he is God and we are not

§        We like to take credit for our own salvation

·        That is our fleshly pull

§        We don’t like relying on others

·        And that flies on the face of predestination

¨     It declares that it is all God’s doing

Ø     God’s choice

Ø     God’s action on our behalf

§        And not our own

·        And we do not like that

¨     We like to support our own weigh…

Just outside of Madrid there is an architectural phenomenon, the famed Escorial ancient monastery of the Augustinians, the order that produced Martin Luther. The kings of Spain have been buried there for centuries, and the church is a mag­nificent example of stately beauty.

The architect who designed and built the monastery constructed an arch so flat that the King believed it would not stand.  The King and the architect went back and forth until the king called on his sovereign power and ordered the archi­tect to add a column in the middle of the arch. The architect bowed to the power of the king and built the column.

Many years later the king died, and it was then that the architect revealed the secret he had kept hidden…that the column was a quarter of an inch short of the arch, and that the arch had never sagged in the slightest. Today guides pass a thin piece of wood between the arch and the column.

v    You see…

Ø     The divine plan does not any need human support.

Ø     Yahweh is the great architect of our salvation

§        Heb 12:2 calls him the author and perfector of our faith

·        And he has constructed the arch of our salvation called predestination

¨     Impossibly flat and long

Ø     And we are like that King

§        We look at that arch of salvation and we with our finite minds…

·        It cannot stand on its own

·        It needs some other support

¨     So we demand that a column be constructed to support God’s plan

Ø     Some call it a column of good works

Ø     Some call it a column of free choice

Ø     But what we will see as we look back from glory is that the columns that we built were all a quarter of an inch too short

§        And God passing a thin piece of wood through the gap between our columns and his grand plan of predestination

v    When you really look at this story of Zacchaeus

Ø     You begin to see as Kent Hughes points out in his commentary

§        That Zacchaeus’ seeking of Jesus and Jesus’ seeking of Zacchaeus were both sovereign works of God. The crossing of their lives at the sycamore tree was a work of divine providence.  (That this) meeting was ordained before the foundation of the world


v    And whenever there is a divine appointment between man and God

Ø     Transformation happens

§        And that is exactly what we see in verse 8…

READ V. 8 ~ The Transformation

v    Illustration: Green 1111

v    Romans 12:2

Ø     Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

§        The Greek word translated “transformed” is ‘metamorpho’

·        We get our word “metamorphosis” from it

¨     Meaning big-change

Ø     And in Zacchaeus we witness a huge transformation

v    The one defining characteristic of Zacchaeus was his greed

Ø     He had cheated and extorted his way to wealth and riches         

§        And after salvation comes to him

·        His grip on money is loosened

¨     He is transformed from a “collector” to a “disperse”

Ø     That is the evidence of salvation in his life

v    And there should be evidence in everyone’s life

Ø     You should be able to look at your life and see where the Lord has transformed you

§        Perhaps it is on your grip of money

·        This is a big one for most people

¨     They say that is one of the last vestiges of the old man to go

§        Maybe it is in your temperament

·        Like the disciple John

¨     Transformed from an angry son of thunder to the apostle of Love

§        Maybe it is seen in the fruit of the Spirit in your life

·        Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

§        Maybe it is in your sexual appetite

§        Maybe in your judgmental nature

§        Perhaps your pride

§        Maybe in your outlook on life

·        Glass half empty to half full

v    In Conclusion…

Ø     I would like to encourage the two types of people that are here today

§        First…

·        Those people who have had a sycamore tree experience

¨     Praise God that God called you

¨     Praise God that he stopped and called you by name

¨     Praise God that he said to you

Ø     “I must stay with you”

¨     Praise God that he has transformed you and continues to do so

¨     Praise God for your salvation

§        Secondly…

·        To those people still up in the sycamore tree

¨     Know that Jesus is calling you by name right now

¨     Know that he is knocking on the door of your heart right now

Ø     Won’t you come down?

The child of God is born rich, for he shares “every spiritual blessing” in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3). We have the riches of God’s mercy and grace (Eph. 1:7; 2:4) as well as the riches of His glory (Phil. 4:19) and wisdom (Rom. 11:33). These are “unsearchable riches” that can never be fully understood or completely exhausted (Eph. 3:8)

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