Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who Knows?

Who Knows?


We are fast approaching the Easter season which commemorates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as the Sacrificial Lamb during Passover week in Jerusalem near the year AD 30. Our calendar puts this year’s celebration of that resurrection on Sunday, April 8th.

Exactly one week prior to Easter is Palm Sunday, which we celebrate next Sunday, April 1st. This is the memorable Sunday Jesus entered into Jerusalem the week before Passover. He was accompanied by a crowd of supporters who laid palm branches along the path; children cried “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to the King of Kings”. This event fulfilled the prophecy of Messiah foretold by the prophet Zechariah in:

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Here we are today, yet one week prior to that event, only two weeks before we celebrate Easter. What a great season this is for the church and for all believers. What a wonderful time of the year.

Without the resurrection Jesus would be just another martyr who died standing up for good and right religious moral issues. The resurrection is God’s seal on the finished work of Messiah.

Today we begin our Easter sermon series following the journey of our Lord, from his home in the Galilee to Gethsemane, from Golgotha to the Garden Tomb, and then the Resurrection. Here we are two weeks prior to this year’s resurrection celebration … but where was Jesus when He stood just two weeks away from that first resurrection celebration?

Turn with me to the book of Luke, Chapter 19

Matthew 19, in parallel commentary to Luke 19, tells us that Jesus had left the Galilee on His way to Jerusalem. As was sometimes the case, He crossed over to the East side of the Jordan River and journeyed down through the land inherited by Judah. Once at or near the place where He had been baptized by John, also the same place where Elijah and Elisha had crossed over the Jordan just before Elijah was taken by a whirlwind into heaven, about the same place that Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan into their promised land, Jesus and His disciples crossed over to the West bank of the Jordan River and soon entered into the city of Jericho.

Many parables and teachings are recorded in the Gospels from this leg of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Included in this week before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, we find Jesus here in Luke 19 ministering in the city of Jericho.

So many Jews were making their commanded yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover, just as Jesus had done in years past when a boy with His parents. Multitudes walked along together stopping and lodging at convenient places, like Jericho, which was not only on the road to Jerusalem, but also was famed for its seven cool water springs.

This was the last staging area for most pilgrims on their way to keep the feast in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Much excitement would have filled the air along with anxious conversation as people drew near once again to the temple of the Lord. One of the main topics of the day was Jesus of Nazareth. Is He a prophet, a teacher of the law? Is He a heretic or Messiah? Each had their own points of view. And, of course, we have ours.

This would be Jesus’ last time to make this journey and the last time a sacrifice would be required or accepted by God on this holy day.

Jesus was on His way to be that Sacrifice.

The spotless Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. One Sacrifice for all sin forever.

But, He still had two weeks, and there was work yet to be done. With His busy moment and the pressing crowd, He nonetheless took the time to stop and minister to one person who had need.

We begin today with verse 1 of Luke 19 reading from the NLT.

Luke 19

1 ¶ Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.

2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business, and he had become very rich.

3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there.

5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today."

6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

7 But the crowds were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled.

8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"

9 Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham.

10 And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."

There are at least five truths we glean from this story which apply to us today.

1. Jesus is coming to our town … and it may be the last time!

* This speaks to us of the urgency and the fleeting opportunities of life which we need be aware of.

* We should not pass up one opportunity to see and hear Him.

2. (Without regard to how big or small we may be), Jesus knows us by name

* He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him … He already has one with us, only we may not know it.

* He knows the number of hairs on our head. (Luke 21:7)

* Sometimes we have to climb higher to see Him, but we should never think, that God has not taken notice of us, does not love us dearly, or does not have a plan for our life.

* He may only be waiting for us to make the effort.

3. Jesus wants to go to your house today

* If Jesus can get into our homes, our inner sanctums, our safe havens, our private places … He can change our lives.

* Jesus knows your secrets and He still wants to be with you

* Take Him to your house today with great joy and excitement

4. Jesus will give us chances that others might never give

* If you have been bad, Jesus will give you the chance to be good

* If you have been wrong, Jesus will give you the chance to be right

* Zacchaeus, like the woman caught in adultery in the Gospel of John, chapter 8, was not accused, condemned, criticized or rejected by Jesus. Rather he was loved, forgiven, trusted and blessed. So will it be with all who will make the effort and invite Him in.

5. It may not all be about you

* What about that person in Jericho that day who had been robbed of their possessions, cheated out of their income, who could not afford to pay their rent, buy food or clothing for their family, pay their just and honest debts and perhaps had to endure humiliation or even be put into debtor’s prison?

* Who was praying for Zacchaeus to get right with God? Whose cry was heard from heaven and responded to on earth? Why did Jesus take such an interest in Zacchaeus and lead him to make amends? Could others have been included in God’s plan?

* Which poor widow moved the hand of God to touch Zacchaeus and make him a supply for her daily bread?

* Who hears the prayers? God does!

* Who sees the needs? God does!

* Who knows the resources? God does!

Perhaps it’s not always all about those it seems to be about. Maybe you are but a resource God wants to use.


We need Jesus to come to our homes.

We also need a new day, a fresh chance, a clean start.

We must humble ourselves and make every effort to see and hear Him.

But just as certain:

We need to be willing for Him to use what we have to meet needs we cannot imagine.

Hear Him calling to you?

Invite Jesus into your home today!

It will bless and change your life.

Climb a little higher for Him.

Who knows the impact … God does!