Session 19- A Picture of Salvation
Central Theme: Salvation through Christ
Objective Statement: We see an incredible picture of salvation through Jesus Christ by observing 4 elements of Zacchaeus’s story.
- Jesus knows the person of Zacchaeus. (v.1-4)
- Jesus pursued (v.5-7)
- Jesus sees the penitence of Zacchaeus. (V.8)
- Jesus declares the pardon of Zacchaeus. (V.9-10)
- At our house one of my favorite times is bed time.
- I get to go to each room and pray with the kids and talk to them about their day for a little bit, before I put them to bed.
- And there are rituals that the kids want us to keep.
- There are songs we sing.
- There are hugs and kisses.
- And if we skip any of those parts, depending on the night, the kids will really want us to do the parts we missed.
- And this is why one of the most frustrating times at our house is bed time.
- In Audrey’s mind there is a checklist. Sometimes her checklist competes with our checklist. We want to make sure our kids have brushed their teeth, put on pj’s, prayed, and gotten into bed. Her checklist is to read a book, sing a song, pray, turn on the lava lamp and for our daughter Audrey- “do I have scouty?”.
- Scouty is the stuffed animal dog.
- And often I’ve gotten them all the way tucked in, sung to, prayed with and about to walk out of the room when she internally asks the question “Do I have Scouty?”. It is at that time when she realizes that she does not that panic ensues.
- And so now we’re looking for “Scouty”.
- We have done intense searches for Scouty. Downstairs, in the basement, under the bed, in the van…Where is Scouty?!
- As a dad, there is a tension that I have of helping her to learn to have the stuffed animal before bed, trying to teach her that she does not need it, and trying to find it as quickly as possible so that I can be done with bed time.
- Some of the most intense searching I’ve ever done is with Audrey at bedtime. 😊
- Now that’s a silly example, but I use it to ask you this question. “Have you ever intensely looked for something?” “Have you ever pursued after something?”
- Earlier in the book of Luke we studied the parable of the compassionate father. It’s also called the parable of the lost son, or the prodigal son.
- That particular parable is the third in the line of stories that Jesus tells about lostness.
- The pharisees had questioned Jesus’ character and motives after eating with “publicans and sinners”.
- So Jesus tells three stories about lostness and seeking after that which is lost.
- A shepherd sees that he has 99 sheep, and is missing one. One is lost, and so the shepherd goes after that one.
- A woman loses one of the coins of her dowery, so she sweeps and searches until she finds that one that is lost.
- These stories illuminate in parable form God’s heart for the lost.
- In today’s story we read, at the end, one of the most profound verses ever written.
- This verse helps us to understand who we are, and why Jesus came.
- Here is the verse- Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10
- In today’s text we do not see Jesus telling a story about seeking after the lost in a parable. We see Jesus seeking after a lost person.
- He is exemplifying what He says that He is like.
- This is one of the most well known stories in Jesus’ ministry, probably in part to the Sunday School song that you may have heard if you grew up in Church.
- It’s the story of Zaccheaus. (Sing the song?)
- What we see is an incredible picture of salvation. We see Jesus seeking a lost man, and we see that lost man responding to him.
- If you are here today I think you should listen to this story and understand it because every person in this room is either:
- Called to be on Jesus’ mission of seeking
We see an incredible picture of salvation through Jesus Christ by observing 4 elements of Zacchaeus’s story.
1. Jesus knows the Person of Zacchaeus. (V.1-4)
(1) And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (2) And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. (3) And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. (4) And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. (5) And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
- Luke takes great care to arrange the story of the ministry of Jesus geographically.
- He skips some of the stories that John tells about Jesus’s earlier Judean ministry and begins with his ministry in Galilee.
- Jesus did spend a significant amount of time in Galilee.
- As we get closer to His death, burial, and resurrection we see Jesus and His disciples coming toward Jerusalem, going from the north to the south towards Jerusalem. Here he is going through Jericho, which was northeast of Jerusalem.
- In this text we are introduced to this man named Zacchaeus, and we are told several facts about him.
- He was a “chief among the publicans”.
- A publican was a tax collector.
- These would have been people that with great cost would have received the permission to collect taxes on behalf of the Roman government. As Jews, they would have been seen as traitors and sinners because they would use this ability to enrich themselves unethically through their position.
- Zacchaeus being a chief among the publicans could mean either that he was in charge as a manager of several other tax collectors, or that he was good at his job and therefore very rich. Either way, he would have been despised by other Jews.
- He was rich.
- Interestingly, I want you to think of the previous rich people in the book of Luke.
- We heard the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This rich man would have been seen as respectable by the religious elite, but ended up in hell.
- In chapter 18, we are told of a “certain ruler” who was “very rich” (18:23).
- He came to Jesus asking what to do to inherit eternal life. The man was very pious. Jesus asked him what he had to do, and this man told him to keep the commandments. The man said he had kept all of the commandments, which of course he had not done, but thought that he did.
(21) And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
- Notice what Jesus told him:
(22) Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
- Jesus is not saying that the only way to be saved is to become poor. What Jesus was saying is that this man was not guiltless. This man would not acknowledge his own sinfulness. This man was consumed with his stuff, and that was keeping Him from seeing his own sin, and his need for Jesus.
- How do I know this? Look at verse 23:
(23) And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
- He chose his stuff over Jesus. Look at what Jesus commented:
(24) And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
(25) For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- This was difficult teaching for the disciples.
- Remember they would have been exposed to the theology of the pharisees.
- A pious, rich, good, Jewish man was blessed by God. Surely these kind of people are in heaven.
- Here was one who respected Jesus. Surely this is the kind of that Jesus would want, and yet Jesus let him get away. Why? Because he would not follow Jesus because of His stuff. So they asked the question:
(26) And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
(27) And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
- And so here you have a different kind of rich man with Zacchaeus.
- He was not pious.
- He was not revered.
- He was not “a good guy”.
- But he was rich.
- He was rich by ripping people off.
- The disciples are learning about rich people from Jesus, and here is another interaction that is about to happen.
- Transition: We are learning some facts about Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector. 2. He was rich.
- He was short.
- Of course, this is what makes him well known in our Sunday school classes.
- “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he!”
- He must have been short for the passage to say this about him.
- He was looking for Jesus.
- Jesus was getting much attention at this point.
- In chapter 17 he healed 10 lepers.
- In Chapter 18 he heals a blind man. We are told the reaction of the crowd in verse 43.
(43) And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
- And so you have Zacchaeus- short, rich, sinful, unpopular as a tax collector- and looking for Jesus.
- We see him not being able to see Jesus “for the press” because he was so short. He does a somewhat undignified thing, and climbs the sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus.
- There are times in a person’s life where God allows them to suffer the consequences of their sinfulness to the degree that they come to the end of themselves. The emptiness of a sinful life can lead us to feel our need for God.
- There are those around us who are empty and hurting. There are those around us that need Jesus, and they do not always look like the down and out. What keeps them from Jesus may be their riches or their addiction, but what is true is that their only hope is Jesus.
2. Jesus Pursues Zacchaeus. (V.5-7)
(5) And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. (6) And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
- See the picture in your mind of this event.
- Zacchaeus is up in the tree.
- There are many people around.
- Jesus is coming with his disciples as an entourage.
- It would have been easy for a person to have walked by and ignore the man in the tree. In fact, there were many other people to which Jesus did not respond.
- What do you think Nicodemus was thinking as Jesus was coming?
- Maybe he was just glad that had figured out how to get a glimpse of Him.
- We can see with his response in the next few verses that he was open to receiving Jesus.
- How surprised would Zacchaeus have been at being noticed by Jesus?
- Jesus does stop and look up.
- Notice, Jesus calls him by name.
- How does Jesus know His name? Had he met him before? Was this a miracle highlighting the omniscience of God the Son? We do not know for sure. What we do know is that it happened. Jesus calls him by name.
- Notice also that he tells him to come down. It is an imperative.
- He invites Himself over to Zacchaeus’s house.
- This would have been an enormous privilege to Zacchaeus. Because of his profession he was seen as a sinner. He would have some esteem for religious leaders but would have been ignored and even derided by them as a traitor for his profession.
- Here was Jesus, the one who had raised the dead, healed the sick, and proven Himself to be God saying He was coming to Zacchaeus’ house. This was very good news to Zacchaeus.
- And so, we see his response in verse 6. He obeyed. He obeyed quickly. He obeyed joyfully. Jesus knew him, cared enough to know His name, and was coming over to his house. This was a moment for joy.
- To know Jesus is a privilege. It is God’s grace for us to have any encounter with Jesus.
- Jesus loves, knows, calls, and forgives. Jesus has a desire to have a relationship with any who will turn to Him by faith.
- Sometimes, if we are not careful, those of us who have been in church and around the Bible for a while will get too familiar with Jesus. We forget the privilege and grace that it is for us to have a relationship with Christ.
- Let us not forget that we do not deserve to have a relationship with Christ. He saw us and has called us by name. Let us not forget the privilege that we have in Christ. Let us be quick to joyfully obey what He says.
(7) And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
- Who were the “they” in this verse? We can safely assume that it is not exclusively the disciples, although they may be included as some that are still surprised by Jesus openness to those who were rejected by the public and religious leaders.
- Certainly, it would have included the crowd that was there to see Jesus. They would have been those who had been taken advantage of by Zacchaeus.
- They had a theological assumption that God loves good people and rejects bad people.
- This is not that different from people today. If you ask people if they are a good person, most people will answer in the affirmative. If you ask them if they were to die, would they go to heaven or hell, most will say heaven. If you ask them why, they will often say that they are basically good people. They have not done x or y like other people.
- Here they had theological categories. There were good people and there were sinners. Good people were not friends with sinners. God certainly is not a friend of sinners.
- Jesus is going against this notion.
- Jesus was a friend of sinners. Jesus has been often accused of being a friend of sinners.
- There was another tax collector that we took note of earlier, named Levi, one of Jesus disciples. Do you remember ealier in this series reading about this event? Check out Luke 5:27-32:
(27) And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. (28) And he left all, rose up, and followed him. (29) And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.
(30) But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
(31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. (32) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
- Jesus’ whole ministry was characterized by a theological understanding that all of us are sinners, and only those that acknowledge their own spiritual poverty will go to the One who will do anything about it.
- Do you have the same view of people as the crowd? Do you categorize people into the good and the bad? Do you see yourself as primarily good? This is a dangerous place to be.
- Or do you see people the way that Jesus did? He loved people despite their sin. He did not love their sin. When they were willing to see themselves as they really were then He was ready to work in their life.
- How do you view people today?
Jesus sees the penitence of Zacchaeus. (V.8)
(8) And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; 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.
- Zacchaeus responds in a way that we must emulate here. How so?
- He calls him Lord.
- He acknowledges Jesus as authoritative. He believes that how He is about to respond is in keeping with what Jesus would desire and even demand.
- He repents.
- Repentance is a change in mind. He used to see people as a means to enrich himself. Now he sees them as people that he has taken advantage of and needs to restore. He sees the poor now as not people to take advantage of, but to help.
- He brings forth fruit in keeping with repentance.
- This is where the rubber meets the road. Not only does his thinking change, but His behavior does as well. He divests himself of a part of his riches in helping those in need and doing what he can to restore the ones he took advantage of in his life.
- These three are sequential. Once he acknowledged Jesus as Lord, He takes on Jesus’ perspective. When he does the fruit of his hands in works follows the change of mind and heart in repentance.
- The same should be true with us. If we say that we have repented, there should be fruit in keeping with that repentance. Good works always follows faith.
(8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
(9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
- We are not saved by good works, but we are saved unto good works.
(18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
- If we have faith, and there has been repentance, there will be fruit in our lives in keeping with that repentance.
3. Jesus declares the Pardon of Zacchaeus. (v.9-10)
(9) And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. (10) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
- Jesus responds to the faith and repentance of Zaccheaus here in a tangible way. He declares that salvation has come to Zaccheaus. His tangible faith in Jesus Christ has made him regenerate. His sins are forgiven.
- What does he mean that salvation has come to this household? We know that this does not mean that now his family is automatically saved. What it does mean is that there is someone who is saved in the home. Zacchaeus’s influence as a saved man whose heart is no longer towards sin, but is towards Jesus will have an effect on his family.
- What does Jesus mean when he says “forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham”?
- Jesus could mean that even though Zacchaeus was classified a “sinner” he was still a Jew ethnically. He still belonged to that family and was part of the nation to which God had made so many promises.
- He could also mean that He was in the same spiritual state as Abraham.
- What did Paul say about Abraham?
(1) What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? (2) For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. (3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
- What was Paul quoting? He was quoting Genesis 15:6 where the scripture says about Abraham:
(6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
- Abraham was not justified by works. Abraham was justified by faith. God made declared Him as righteous and imputed Christ’s righteousness to Abraham’s account because of Abraham’s faith in God.
- Abraham’s faith was justified by his works. He lived a life of faith as demonstrated by His works. His works did not save him, but his works made it clear that his faith was real.
- This same thing was true of Zacchaeus, and so the same justification and salvation came to Zacchaeus.
- So which one is it? Was Jesus saying that He was Jewish, or that He was saved like Abraham was? I believe it is both.
- How is this possible? I believe it is possible because of verse 10.
(10) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
- God was not acknowledging that faith in Zacchaeus or Abraham was merit.
- They were not earning their salvation through their faith.
- God was declaring them righteous because Jesus came to seek them out like he had done for Zacchaeus. God had sent Jesus to die and rise again so that God could declare them as righteous and treat them that way through faith in Jesus.
- Are you in the same spiritual household as Abraham? Have you believed God, and trusted in Christ? Jesus is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Zacchaeus acknowledged his need for a Savior, acknowledged Jesus as Lord, confessed his sin, and repented. His faith was genuine in that his works showed his repentance, and Jesus declared his salvation. It changed his family.
- Have you done this? Have you acknowledged your sin and need for a Savior? Have you truly repented and put your faith in Christ? He has come to seek and to save that which was lost! Have you put your faith in Jesus?
- How should you respond to the Savior today? through taking advantage of them. Now he sees his role as being a blessing to people through his prosperity.
We see an incredible picture of salvation through Jesus Christ by observing 4 elements of Zacchaeus’s story.
1. Jesus knows the person of Zacchaeus. (v.1-4)
2. Jesus pursued Zacchaeus. (v.5-7)
3. Jesus sees the penitence of Zacchaeus. (V.8)
- He calls him Lord.
- He repents.
- He brings forth fruit in keeping with
4. Jesus declares the pardon of Zacchaeus. (V.9-10)