Sep 9, 2018

Build Your Kingdom Here Bible Study Part 4

Luke 19:1-10

“He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

ZACCHAEUS

Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector in Jericho.  Tax collectors were despised as traitors for their work in service of the Roman Empire.  Even though they were part of the Jewish community, their allegiance first and foremost was to a foreign power.  They were corrupt.

Jericho had a lucrative production and export of balsam and it is likely that Zacchaeus would have been extremely wealthy and carried a lot of weight in the community.

Q:  Who, if any, are the modern-day Tax collectors? (i.e., who are the people that pretty much all of society hates but they are well-connected to power and have great wealth)


RAN TO SEE JESUS

Because Zacchaeus was short, he would not have been able to see Jesus through the crowd.  He could have made a scene and forced his way through the crowd so that He could see Jesus – after all he carried a lot of gravitas in the community – but instead he chose an alternative way.

I have always felt sorry for Zacchaeus.  He is not liked by anyone and is very short.  It would take quite an effort to see Jesus.  Some may have simply shrugged and moved on, but Zacchaeus pressed on to see the Savior.

Q: Consider the modern-day tax collectors from the previous question. Do they have any redeeming qualities?

JESUS SEES ZACCHAEUS

For whatever reason, Jesus notices Zacchaeus out of the crowd.  He looks up into the tree and sees this poor pathetic man.  Scripture doesn’t indicate why Jesus does this.  Yet, Jesus saw something in Zacchaeus.

Q:  Why do you think Jesus stopped to notice Zacchaeus?

RECEIVED JESUS WITH JOY

Zacchaeus was overjoyed that Jesus was coming to his hour.  To be noticed by someone like Jesus must have been simply wonderful.

Q:  Has there ever been a time in your life when you were noticed by someone famous?  Share your feelings from that moment.

THE PEOPLE GRUMBLED!

When Jesus had fellowship with Zacchaeus, this was a big deal.

It’s hard for modern-day listeners to understand, but when you ate with someone it was more than simply consuming calories.  It meant that you were in fellowship with them.  It meant that they were acceptable to society.  Zacchaeus was not!  Yet Jesus ate with Zacchaeus causing the people to grumble.

Jesus spent considerable “Political Capital” to spend time with Zacchaeus.  There were several others that He could have spent time with – without as much stress.  But Jesus chose Zacchaeus.

When you are associated with someone famous, your stock rises.

The moment was so profound for Zacchaeus that he decides to change his ways.  He will repay everyone from whom he has swindled four fold.  That is quite a change!

Jesus could have handled this differently. He could have forced Zacchaeus to return the money in return for a visit.  Jesus could have strongly suggested that Zacchaeus return the money.  But that would not have given Zacchaeus the opportunity to change his own heart.

The truth is that when we apply the Law to someone it may produce an outward response.  But to truly change someone’s heart, this can only be done by the Gospel.  In other words, true change came to Zacchaeus because Jesus showed love to him.

Q:  Can you think of a time when you had a change of heart because someone showed love to you?

TODAY, SALVATION HAS COME

In the Greek New Testament, Salvation is a broader term than we often think of in English.  Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction.  It can include future restoration at the end of an age, but the world is also closely linked to the word that means “Healing”.

Q:  What could Jesus have healed Zacchaeus from?

THE STRUGGLE

Often times we don’t want to associate with “Those Sinners!”.  We are afraid that if we spend time with them, people will think we condone their behavior.

But the truth of scripture is that we are all sinners.  Our sin is just as bad as everyone else’s.  Knowing this gives us the strength and permission to love everyone – even at the risk of our own reputation.

THE CHALLENGE

Try to think of people who are hated by society that you would never spend time with because of their terrible sin.  Start to pray for them.  Start to pray for your own sin.  Ask God to give you the opportunity to share His love.