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A Study of Zacchaeus

Doug Batchelor


Doug Batchelor

Speaker and Director of Amazing Facts, Senior Pastor of Granite Bay Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist Church.




  • September 6, 2015
    7:00 AM
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How is everyone. Once you turn in your Bibles to the book of Luke. After idols with you if you don't I'll be reading the passages. Luke Chapter nineteen. We're going to look at a famous story but it's a story that only appears one time in the Bible. You know there's a number of things you will find in the Gospel of Luke you don't find in Matthew Mark or John. It's only in Luke you find the story of the product the son. And it's only in Luke that you're trying. The parable of the Good Samaritan. And it's only in Luke. You hear the story of the key S.. And we're going to read that together often these stories are saved for the children. And they really have some wonderful theology. For those of us who are adults. He energy Erico and was passing through. Now it tells us that there's a great crowd that's following him because in another gospel as he's going into Jericho he feels a plain man by the name of Barton mess and it says there was a great multitude this is the last trip of Jesus to Jerusalem. This is also the trip that was the last Passover it's a During the time of Passover. There are a lot of pilgrims. That were traveling to the city of Jerusalem. The Jesus knew he was on his way to die. But. A number of things happened on that way and behold there was a man a man named as a key S.. And he was a chief tax collector. And he was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was. But on account of the crowd he could not because he was of small stature. So he ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree to see him for he was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place where he was. He looked up and he said to him. The key is hurry and come down for I must state your house today. So we hurried and he came down and received him joyfully. And when they sought the crowd. They all grumble. And they said. He's gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. And that he has stood and he said to the Lord behold Lord half of my goods that give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone. I've restored fourfold. And Jesus said to him today salvation is come to this house in as much as he is also a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to see that which is a loss. So let's take a look at this story a little more closely today. First of all. The key is was it says a public and. Now I think most of us know what a public of laws and Bible times. Their tax collectors were not like our tax collectors today where there was some legitimate process where they were picked by the government tax collectors back then I want you to think more mafia. The tax collectors got into a contract with the Romans who were hated enemies. And they said we will give you these bridges and gates of the city. Ads you will evaluate the sales items that are coming in and going out. And you will let me a tax on the items you get to keep a small percentage for yourself. And then you return that to Rome. And so they would contract with Rome to extract taxes from their own people the Romans would pick and choose to tax the Jews they found it created less riots. They spoke the language. And if you get to keep a little of it for yourself. Well the tax collectors often kept quite a bit for themselves. And because they were sort of outcast from Jewish society. They made no pretense of being religious. Jesus often love the tax collectors together with the harlots it save the tax collectors and the harlots. And you remember that. Jesus invited even one of the twelve apostles to be a tax collector. There he was collecting the taxes at the gate of the city and Jesus said follow me. And he walked away from his the cash register. Follow Jesus. The key S. felt that he was an outcast from society. Even though he's rich and you know the Bible when it says. You're rich because he was a tax collector. And he was rich six years was the chief tax collector in Jericho. Jericho is the best place to be a tax collector. Because it was in a highway that really connected a bridge of three continents. The trade in caravan traffic that went from Africa to Europe. That went from Africa to Asia and from Europe down to Asia. All went through the Jordan Valley. You could not go east of there was a big desert. There was nothing there. And so through that Jordan Valley. They'd go through that ancient city of Jericho. Jericho is a city with a curse. City. Remember when the walls of Jericho fell. Joshua pronounced a curse on anyone who rebuilt the city. Hundreds of years later there was a man who didn't listen to the words of Joshua. He rebuilt Jericho. And just as the curse had foretold. As he was laying the foundation for the city there was an accident. And his firstborn died. And when they were completing the city and setting up a Gates there was another accident. And the youngest of that man's children died. It was a cursed city. And so here Jesus is walking through this cursed city. Because it's on the road to Jerusalem. When you're coming from Galilee. Hills. Part of me is a great Moses is following him. Pilgrims on their way to the priests and there is this very wealthy. Sheaf of the tax collectors. He is the. The dawn of the Mafia. He's well known. Because he's also a little man. And they used to tease him. Maybe he was one of these people you know they say some men that are famous in history. Are driven. Because they were small. They call it little man syndrome. Adolph Hitler. They say that Alexander the Great. Was just about five feet three. Some of you know the former president of North Korea was named Kim Jong il. He were four foot four inch platforms on his boots because he was so self-conscious and you've all heard of the Polian little man syndrome. We don't know maybe that's what the key is every know he was very wealthy powerful and little. But you know what profit is that you gain the whole world and you lose your soul. And even though he could buy anything he wanted. Nobody loved him and he didn't feel happy in the priest told him he was so sinful he could not be saved. And he was wondering maybe is there any way I could ever be restored to God. And then he heard about this teacher from Galilee. That not only accepted a publican to be one of his inner circle is all that's unusual. Even the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus accepted Matthew. Jesus went to Eton Matthew's house. And they said well your master. She's eating with publicans and you remember Jesus said well it's the sick that need a physician not those that are well. But then Jesus told the parable. That's the key is heard about of two men that go to the temple to pray. One of the pharaoh see the most religious of people and one is a public and the wicked has to people and when he gets done telling the parable. The fairest see. He says I pray. Place a week I pray all the time P. fast for you so we can pay tithes of all they have I'm thankful I'm not like this publican back there and the publican would not so much as lift up his eyes but he bowed his head and he smoked on his breast he said Lord have mercy on me a sinner. And then Jesus absolutely shocked the crowd when he said. I say unto you. The public and went down to his house. Justify not the fear is what God would forgive. Publican which is thought I want to see a religious leader like that. So he's hoping for forgiveness he has heard about Jesus he wants to see him. But there's a problem. You know the problem once. So he sought to see Jesus. But what was a problem. Too short. I'd like to tell you the problem was the crowd was too tall. There's nothing wrong with height. Because you know one of the most common things that people tell me when they see me for the first time. They watch the television programs. And somehow the T.V. programs give the illusion that I'm taller than I am. I don't know why. And when they finally see me to go Oh he's short. At some people actually say it to me just like have a don't even realize what they are saying to go on it while you're short. I said no I'm not. I said I'm just concentrated. I'm convinced. I tell him I'm really taller than I look. But you know it depends on where you are in America short but when I go to the Philippines I'm tall. Just all perspective. It wasn't just that he was too short. The crowd was too tall. Have you thought there are some other stories in the Bible. Of people who wanted to see Jesus. But the crowd got in the way. For instance there was a man who was paralyzed. Mark Chapter two. They wanted to bring them to Jesus for friends. They couldn't get near the house. Because of what the crowd. So they had to bring him through the roof. You remember that story. Or do you remember the story where the Bible says that there was this woman who had serious personal illness and she wanted to talk to Jesus but she couldn't because of the crowd. So she pushed through the crowd just got to him of his garment. And she was healed. Had to get through the crowd. Line but to me us. Just before is a key is. He called out Son of David have mercy on me as the crowd was passing by in the crowd to be quiet. And he didn't listen he cried even louder son of David have mercy on me and Jesus heal them. There's three cases right there with the crowd became an obstacle for people getting to Jesus. And now it is again was a kiss you notice that Jesus is often followed by and surrounded with a crowd. And the crowd becomes the biggest obstacle. What kind of crowd was around Jesus. Well you kept possibles other disciples. Maybe just some curiosity seekers. It's safe to say the crowd around Jesus was a religious crowd even his enemies were religious. So what kind of crowd got in the way. A religious crowd blocked. Jesus. What is the greatest obstacle for people finding Jesus in the world today. It's often the people around Jesus. The atheist in the ignosticism the skeptics in the world and they say I would be a Christian before you christians are such a purpose. What are they do they don't look at Jesus they look at the crowd around Jesus. And they become distracted and don't even try to get past the crowd. That's a key if you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus. You need to personally encounter Christ. You're not saved by virtue of being in a house where Jesus was or being near the crowd it's near Jesus you need to have a one on one relationship. I sometimes meet. Christians seven B.N. in a survey miss for this. We're getting rich heritage in those say. Brother Doug you realize I'm a third generation. Set of they had this. As though you get some kind of extra credit. Because your parents and grandparents were in the church. When the Lord looks down to see those were his Those he'll go to Family Tree dot com and find out how many ads in Israel are to subdue they have to I guess I better bring a man. Oh. To pastors in the family tree. They will get a special seat and haven't. The Lord care. It doesn't make any difference. I mean it's nice to have the culture in the history for you but you get no salvation credit points. You need to have a personal relationship with Jesus. You probably heard it said before the Lord has no grandchildren. You know only his children. Need to have a personal relationship. Now does it he is wanted to do the right thing. He's going through the first episode ovation. He wants to see Jesus. That's his desire. You know that's what the Lord said we need to do if we would be saved. The thief on the cross we talked about last night. He saw Jesus. He saw him lifted up. That's how we must see him. Also Jesus on the road to Damascus and it brought about his conversion. I.D.'s that in the year that was a tie and I saw all the Lord and he went through his conversion. I saw the Lord. Were invited by John. To behold. What manner of Love The Father has bestowed on this was I mean the whole book. An invitation to look to see as Moses lifted up the servant you look in your lives. The disciples to Jesus Master where you stand he said Come and see. And if you come to Jesus you will see. So the starting point for so many in the conversion is you must see Jesus. If we could see the Lord through his eyes see who he is it changes everything. So he wants to see him. But the crowds in the way so he's got to get above the crowd. Right. So how do you get above the crowd. Well if your problems too short. Well you've got to do is be a little taller. But you know we're all actually too short. I heard about this man. Years ago I was listening to a Paul Harvey radio program many of you remember the Paul Harvey radio programs and. He was telling the rest of the story and there was this young man. Here's a Filipino gentleman. Lived in Los Angeles. And for whatever reason his dream was to be a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. That Back then the steps and T.V. program was called ships or whatever they were Yeah that is L.A. a highway patrolman and he said I It's what I want to do. So he went to the cademy but when he entered the academy. They said no you realize there is a height requirement. In order to be part of the L.A. Police Department you have to be a certain business minimum height we don't make any exceptions and. You are about one inch too short and I will look I'm one thousand I will go I can I'll go against don't worry I'll figure it out. They said well you might find it harder than you think we'll let you enroll in the school but just know even if you graduate. We will not make you a full use officer. If you don't meet higher finally. I've got a plan don't worry. So he's into the police academy. And while he was the police academy his grades were very good needed well in the courses but everyone used to call him Shorty and says you realize you're not going to graduate you're too short and I got a plan that's how he would go to sleep at night. And he'd tatts bungee cords to his wrists. And he had a metal headboard on his bed and he taps into his angles and he would try to sleep at night is very hard to sleep. Being stretched all night. He would hang by his feet from a bar that they had in the garage. Like a bat. Hoping that it would help stretch him. He tried to devise these different things. He went to the doctor and he asked for growth hormones in the doctor said the growth hormones only work when you're going through puberty but once your full grown one thousand years old man typically stops growing girls start growing younger did you know that the said. It's not going to do you any good. And he was doing everything he could start one inch Do you realize it is true that when you wake up in the morning you're actually a little taller than you aren't when you go to sleep at night because during the day your upper body. Compresses the little wafers in your spine and there's a little bit of compress and you might lose a quarter of an industry in the day you measure your height when you first get up in the morning you could be a quarter of an installer. So he would do all these things he's doing any run to the doctor and he'd get measuring the doctor say you know. I'm impressed. You said you are actually a quarter of an installer than you were last time but he say Well to go we're not the legend. Started getting near the end of his class. He was considering a very expensive surgery. Sometimes people that struggle with torches and do this where they break your legs. And they put these outside braces on your legs. That haven't Lispers in it and it kind of pulls the blown apart and the bone between the break. Goes together. And it starts filling in. And they keep screwing it apart in the bone keeps growing in a very painful and very expensive. And I thought he was willing to do it. He was willing that his legs broken and go through that whole procedure. So that he could be a member of the L.A. Police Department. Well his mother knew that that was going to be very expensive. So one morning she says. I have another plan that I know will work. Where you can grow. That will three quarters of an inch is all he needed now. Because he had gotten a quarter inch. He said What is it she said I'll tell you after breakfast. So he had practice he was very excited. She said. If you want to understand what this plan is you've got to look outside. Look down the street from the kitchen window. It's indoor. What is that money should she get the secret. Look outside. He stuck it he looked out signs he grabbed a big cast iron frying pan and she was up to him over the head with a frying pan. Not going to the ground. And he was rubbing his head he said Why do you do that. She said in a little while you're going to have a big bump. She's a run down to the doctor in good measure. So he went down to the doctor. And the quarter ran study again plus a three quarter inch lump that his mother put on his head. He managed to get an inch out of it. And they felt so sorry for him there at the medical offices that alright. We're going to use. We don't want to kill yourself we're going to say that you were tall enough. Now that. That's what that man went through to grow one inch. You know we are all too short to see Jesus. The Bible says which of you by taking the thought. Can add a cubit unto your stench. How'd you like to grow cubits about eighteen inches. That would really hurt. How do we grow taller. How did the key is to get taller. He said if I could just climb the tree. What is a tree represent in the Bible. What did Jesus die on your reading next chapter two Peter said Who you. Hung upon the tree. And it says in the Old Testament speaking of this curse that everyone the dies on a tree and Christ took the curse for us. When you take up your cross. You'll get a little taller. When you are crucified with Christ. You are lifted up. And you get a little taller. The best person who had the best of you of the cross. Are those who were crucified with Christ. It made them a little taller. And when we do this we'll see Jesus. So he said lord. I want to see him. So he goes up the street if you want to see Jesus figure out where Jesus going. Place yourself strategically where he's going to be. And you'll have an encounter with him. So is a key is saw where the crowd was. He saw the Jesus was going up the Main Street. He looked ahead he said I am going to be where Jesus is going to be I want to run the A blue with Christ. If you want to see Jesus. Figure out where Jesus is going to be and then put yourself there. You're doing that this morning. You said there's going to be a worship someone's going to talk about Jesus. I am going to look ahead. I am going to put myself where Jesus is going to be. You know the Bible says that we're two or three gathered in His Name. What's the rest of that and I'll be there. And so when there's a prayer meeting and when there's a worship program in Christ has said I'm going to be there. If you want to see Jesus. You go to where you know he's going to pass. So he ran ahead you thought ahead. And he came to the spot. And it must have looked funny you know. It says he was short there's one tradition that says that he was also a little bit portly. Which makes sense because if you're rich you might be inclined to eat too much. And if you're Republican you don't have a lot of physical labor and so here's this very wealthy. Round. Muffy us names a key is in Jericho. And he's huffing and puffing with his. Nordstrom robes. Trying to climb up this tree and get up there in the crotch of a tree up above the road so he can see the crowd when it comes below him. And as the crowd began to approach those that were out of him they looked up and they saw him. And they laughed and some point in some mocked. And this is their look at that. The key it's hell mafia. Up in the tree. Now. What kind of tree to climb. Sycamore. It's not like the American sycamore. The Sycamore in the Bible was a fig tree. That often grew by a watery area. But they had different kinds of figures just like you can have crab apples. And you can have good apples. The sycamore tree was a very common the fig tree. But the fruit was somewhat inferior they usually did not feed it to the people. They fed it to the animals. But it was a fig tree. Keep that in mind. So. The sea of faces begins to pass the procession the parade is coming. Underneath the tree. And the key is the hanging on with both arms and the standing the faces in which one is Jesus and finally sees that there seems to be a nucleus of focus. That is around this one individual everyone all their eyes are gazing in his direction and so the key is sort of triangulates where they're all looking. And he sees this one person in the middle who has a majestic bearing. And a look of love. And this indignity. This purity about him. And as he gets closer to that he is looking out of him and he stops. As if you sneeze all this is great. He's going to preach a sermon at right here under the tree I'll get to hear what he says. And he slowly looks up right at the keys. And then he calls them by name and they've never met. And he says the key is come down quickly. For today I must abide at your house. He heard that and is I've got big. I think he nearly fell out of the tree Messick that do you think you fell out of the tree. I think on his way down. He musta stumbled or something because you read a little later. Here it says he had to stand up. After he got down out of the tree. He just plopped out of the tree like a ripe fruit. You know the Bible tells us that the only thing that Jesus was responsible directly or indirectly for killing one is he allowed the demons to enter the pigs and they ran off a cliff and died on the other thing was Jesus. What was it the curse the fig tree. Why did the curse have no fruit and a pretence of fruit or the Lord want he want. Went to that fig tree looking for fruit What did the tree represent a nation of Israel that had all the leaves. They had all the forms and all the ceremonies but they did not have the fruits of the spirit the love the joy the peace. The things that he came to see what Jesus say about the fine that has no fruit. Not worth anything it will be cut down and thrown in the fire. What does he want in your life. Prove that Jesus comes to this tree. And he finds fruit. In this victory. It's the. The primitive the humble fig is what this was the. He falls down Jesus that I must abide if your house what is the Lord one. He knocks the Says open the door. And if we open the door he'll do what the come in and he's basically saying I'll abide with you just can you comprehend that the Lord doesn't say Yeah I'll give you an autograph. He sent. I want to know you. I want to live in your house I want a personal relationship with you. Jesus wants to be. Have a personal relationship. In your home. With things in your home happen differently of Jesus live there. Where you need to invite him in some people still or and I I don't know I might like to have Jesus come visit I'm not sure I'd want him to stay. That would be awkward I'd have to change is two things that Jesus stayed very long. I'd have to change the way we talk or change what we watch or read or listen to how does he is feel all me and one of them are Jesus is coming to my house. You notice says he received him. Surely full. He was so happy to know that he could be forgiven. That someone would accept him joining fully and. What happened after he saw Jesus he received him and then he publicly. Confesses he made haste and he came down. When Christ calls you did he say he has you know when you get a chance. When it fits in your schedule when it's convenient I know you've got a lot of stress in your life so this is a good time but when you think it's a good time you come to me. I've met people before so I want to accept Jesus but I'm just going through a lot right now I'm going to wait for a better time I got a way to let's continue. You know I'm going to try to quit smoking but there's a lot of stress in my life now this isn't a good time. I'm going to go on that diet start trying to eat right but a lot of stress right now. You know the devil will see to it. It is never a good time. The best time to listen to God's voice is when you're hearing got for it's the best time to do God's will is when he reveals his will and when Jesus calls them he says. Make haste and come quickly. And he came quickly he jumped out of a tree. And after he came to Jesus he said lord. If I look. If I half of my goods they give the poor first thing he says right off the bat. I'm even half my goods to the poor. And you saving the other half because he says. If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation. I restore him fourfold. What is that mean his heart is changed. You know sometimes people call a radio program this a pastor Doug. New Testament Christians don't have to pay tithes because that's an Old Testament laws not right. I said Absolutely so we need to follow the New Testament principle of giving. Let me read to you. Those that had possession and sold them their houses in their lands the Middle East down the price of the feet of the disciples. The key is that Lord half of my goods they give to the poor. I said the old testament was tied. That's kindergarten New Testament. Much bigger commitment. So what do you want you want the Old Testament or do you want the New Testament. And all of a sudden they start believing in the Old Testament again. The New Testament said. No man said that all of that he had was all and that he has stood said Lord half my goods they give to the poor if I've taken anything from anyone by false accusation. I restore him fourfold. And you know that's according to the law that says. If you stole a lamb. You were to restore fourfold. He knew what the law was when he sees Jesus. And he wrote except he comes to Jesus. He confesses and he publicly repents. And after he does those things it all happened in a matter of minutes. What does Jesus the clarity him. He said to him to day. Is salvation. Come to this House has said it. All right let's watch you for a while six years and see if you're serious and see if you can really be good. When he repented. When he saw Jesus when he came to Jesus he confess. She's that uses an even wait for him to write the check. He took the promise of his heart. And he said salvation is COM. That's a wonderful story because it means salvation comes to our lives. When we come to Jesus just as we are. Why. He says For the Son of Man is come to see can save that which is a loss. If you're lost. You're qualified burning to Jesus to be saved as he came to seek people like you. This is a key is was considered one of the most lost people in Jericho. But he came and he saved the blind. And he same the last and healed the sick. Now. The something interesting about the story. He wanted to see Jesus. Who does the Bible say is going to see the Lord. In the beatitudes Blessed that are the pure in heart for they will see God. I deliberately did not tell you what the names of he is means at the beginning you know it's of his means. Sure. Isn't that something here you've got this tax collector His name is pure. And he wanted to see Jesus. Less that are the pure in heart for they will see the Son of God. Now it's not in the Bible but there is a tradition that for years later. Those that were going through Jericho would often see at the foot of this old fig tree. And old man. And he had a chair stationed right there by the fig tree and periodic Lee they'd see him look up at the tree wistfully. And he murmur something and then he pat the tree lovingly and folks would say. What's wrong old man are you losing your mind. And he said no this is the place where I first saw his face and this is the place where I first heard his voice speak my name and sickness. Cordin to another tradition. Gave liberally of his wealth to help support the early church and became a leader in the church. You know the whole story of this is. It's harder for rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven Jesus utters those words just before the story is accuse. And they said Lord who then can be saved. And he said With man it's impossible. But with God all things are possible and then you read on a ghost story as a kiss. He had to get his heart. And yes a rich man can be say but he was willing to unload and liquidate so that he could put Jesus first as a priority in his life. Would you like to see Jesus. Would you like to be a little taller. You need to climb a tree. We are crucified with Christ cement. Yet I live. Not I but it's Christ that lives in me. I'd like to have that experience today. But your friends. For those that are able could we kneel and pray. As we close our service. Lord at the dawn of this beautiful new day new week. We just commit ourselves to you. We're so thankful for the promise that have came from your lips. But as we seek after you will find that when we see your face and. We accept you and come to you you will declare that we are sons and daughters of Abraham. And that we are part of your family were thankful that you have come to save sinners. We know if you can save we can publicans and and. The great list of people that have failed in the Bible we know that you can save us. I pray that will experience that salvation it will be so excited that will go from the mountaintop when these meetings are over and tell others what wonderful things you've done for us. Phyllis with your spirit today Lord I pray that we will live lives where we take up our crossed follow Jesus. And we thank you and that's all this price me. 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