The 4 Pillars, and Zaccheus
Every child of God has been commissioned by the King of Kings to do their part in the plan to save man, the very scheme of redemption. Contrary to philosophy and extreme traditional practices evangelism is something that the entire church, every member both ought to be and can be involved in. How do we define evangelism?
Evangelism is the developing of relationships that mature through rapport. This rapport enables the revelation of God’s will into the life of the seeker, allowing Christ to be seen, taught, exposed and exhibited. These results in our participation in the scheme of redemption and the production of Christianity in the community we serve.
The purpose of this tract is to look at the story of Zaccheus, see his pursuit of Jesus and the evangelistic efforts of the Christ so that we work the principles of evangelism in the lives that we come in contact with. The passage of reference is Luke 19:1-10. Notice the story.
Short in stature but tall in elegance; Zaccheus went about his circuit of exchange and collection. He looked over his frame and marveled at the beauty that comforted his life. He pondered his place as he moved toward a section of Jericho that is known for its balsamic trade revenue. Looking up the road, he saw a tremendous amount of commerce in the horizon. He hastened to his first stop only to be blocked and shoved away from the main roadway.
Repeatedly, he made effort to get a view of the crowd that impressed the residence of Jericho so greatly. Just then, Matthew passed and Zaccheus caught his attention. Filling through Matthew greeted him in their local language. Zaccheus asked him, “What’s the meaning of such a crowd? Is there a trade group in? Did someone steal something? Are there bandits in bonds? Tell me Matthew, I cannot see?”
Matthew responded, “Have you not heard? The Teacher is passing through. He is the Messiah! He is the Son of David and He is passing this way. He has done so very much for me! I no longer take from those whom God has called to be heirs. I am a disciple of Jesus!”
Zaccheus didn’t know how to receive Matthew. He looked at his joy-filled expression with curiosity and wonder. He thought to himself, what kind of luxury would cause Matthew to give up his very lucrative trade in tax collection? How could one rabbi attract so much attention and have a following as great as this? O’ the money that he would bring to Jericho, thought Zaccheus. “I want to see who this is,” he thought to himself.
Again, like a small pup fighting between his siblings for a turn at feeding, he pushed and pushed yet to no avail. The audience sneered at him and grudgingly kept him away. He could hear the testimonies of Jews who cried out in an antiphonal singing like fashion, “He healed my son when the doctors all failed! O’ blessed be messiah!” Another said, “He raised my daughter from the dead! O’ blessed be Messiah!” Again, “O’ blessed be Messiah!”
There was even one man whose voice seemed to break through the waterfall of praise to creating a penetrating poniance to Zaccheus’ hearing. He said, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see! I see! Praise the Son of David, I can see!” “He is Bartimaeus,” others said in amazement.
Zaccheus had had enough of trying to make out images from among the sounds. He ran. He quickly ran ahead of the crowd and hurriedly crossed between the multitudes moving toward the roadway in order to get a glimpse of this Jesus. Finally, he made it to the end of the press. It was a cloud of Jews rolling toward him as would a thunderstorm over the desert plain. He thought to him and looked up the road further. He saw a slightly picked Sycamore-fig tree.
Zaccheus was in an interesting social dilemma. He was faced with gratifying a desire to see this man whom so many spoke of with reverence and affection, but it was at the cost of losing some social approval. Jesus had gained the following and favor of multitudes. Zaccheus wanted greatly to have such appreciation, and to climb this tree could ruin his social standings. Sycamore-fig trees were beneath a person of great wealth.
He thought for a second. He looked at his garments, the ground, the crowd, and the tree. Repeating the glance, he finally made his way toward the tree. He reached up at the first branch and pulled. He began to make his way. He scratched himself and ripped his royal colored tunic in two places. He continued up in to the tree. He uncomfortably moved onward and bracing himself, he prepared to look up.
Straining his shoulders to hold his small frame steady, he locked himself into position. He began to scan the crowd. People were bowing and others lay prostrate in the press. Men were dancing and leaping with unexplainable joy. Women were crying and smiling in one single expression. Children were caught in a gaze all toward one central point.
But, Zaccheus was a bit confused. He couldn’t see whom all the extravagant praise was for. He was a man of great wealth and he was looking for the same. He looked through group after group and still nothing. Zaccheus had begun to look up the road in the opposite direction, thinking he had lost him in view. He was near giving up when he heard a voice. Turning, slightly, the voice presented itself clearly in his minds grasp. “Zaccheus,” Jesus said.
In all of his life, he never heard his name quite like that. He had heard shopkeepers scream at him in a vehement tone fit for barbarians but nothing like His calling. He had heard his very own mother comfort him in a motherly tone that only she could, but still it was nothing like His calling. Zaccheus paused and imagined what it must be like to really know that one cares for him and just then he heard, “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house (Luke 19:5)”
Within a second, the Master tax collector and Chief of publicans became a hospitable servant to the collector of souls. Hurrying down from this tree that brought him recognition rather than shame, he began asking himself what will I prepare for the teacher. It is interesting that our Lord would meet one who was in a tree to see him and later Jesus would hang on a tree to save him. It is interesting how the shame that Zaccheus was hesitant to assume our Lord was decidedly willing to bear.
He sat in their cultures reclined dining posture and listened to the Messiah. What teaching there must have been? What deep exposition there undoubtedly was? What masterful relevance he communicated. Zaccheus could not hold it in. He had to put his faith to work. Confronted with the expositional genius of the creator of communication, he moved. Conflicted with the engineer of faith, he stood to his feet. With a penitent spirit of willingness, he took responsibility for the soul that he could be responsible for. Zaccheus said, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold (Luke 19:8).” He increase in spiritual stature to that of giants through physically, he was but a small man.
Willing to be really seen for whom he was, he came before the one who knows every man and can hear your thoughts from afar off, Jesus. Jesus distinctly looks upon his friend Zaccheus and with divine discernment responds. You could hear a straw drop as the company waited for His word. Zaccheus’ heartbeat was seen and felt by every servant he had. The disciples, wiping their sap drenched beards, hesitated to enjoy the next bite. The women were listening while looking intently away from a distance. The same question was on everyman’s heart. “Was Zaccheus sincere? Can he be forgiven?”
In that minute the seemingly eternal moment is shattered by the continuation of Jesus’ response. His carpenter’s voice built an edifice of enlightenment through the words He spoke. The Lord said, “Today is salvation come to this house, for as much as he also is a son of Abraham (Luke 19:9).” If ever the picture of grace was painted in broad view, it was today!
The church is required to continue where Jesus left off. We can see the beauty of meeting up and ministering to those who want to see Jesus and who are struggling to know themselves. Our charge is clear. Develop relationships! Strengthen the connection thereby creating rapport. This will allow our friends and family to have open spirits for the revealing of Christ in word and in action. When we do these things it results in fulfillment and blessings. Lives will be changed and ministry will be purposefully executed. Salvation can come to someone’s home that you know, and it can come today!
So What? What does one need to do? Do what Jesus did. He did the following:
Number one, Jesus was sensitive to the environment that he was in. The text teaches us the when Jesus came to the place He looked up! (Luke 19:5) Often times we go through our day and fail to see the people that surround us. We are guilty of not looking up or around in the world we live in. God’s economy of evangelism is simple. God provides the people and we work the principles. We accomplish our part by first looking up.
Number two, Jesus was sociable to the eager seekers in his path. When God placed people in the path of the Lord he spoke to them in confidence. There is no such thing as accidentally making someone’s acquaintance. God is working the economic equation of evangelism. Our part is to see people through the eyes of the Lord. See the value in them and socialize with the confidence of the savior. We don’t know what God has in mind. Trust the economy of evangelism!
Number three, Jesus was simple in His explanation. We see the power of connecting with those that others shun by the way Jesus simply communicated His willingness to have a relationship with Zaccheus. He ate with him and talked with him while teaching him. Through simple table fellowship Jesus communicated the righteous way of life in such away that Zaccheus was willing to change! Jesus evangelized, and so must His church!
The King of Kings was willing to connect with Zaccheus to have a relationship that was unlike most. He strengthens that relationship by being with him. The rapport that was developed through communing with Zaccheus kept his spirit open to the revelation of the will of God. This resulted in his salvation and the Son of man’s fulfillment of ministry.
The Lord is still interested in seeking and saving that which was lost. He is doing this through His church as we work the principles of evangelism relationship, rapport, revelation, and results. So do it! Evangelize!