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Apr 10, 2022

Friendship Sunday

Friendship Sunday

Speaker: James Gallaher

Series: Out of Exile

Category: Sunday Morning

Thinking of how lucky he was to be in this place to hear Jesus speak, now imagine his surprise when Jesus looked up to him.

Luke 19:1-10 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jericho was filled with influential people and Zaccheus was one. Yet, he was a man of small stature. Why was that in scripture? Zaccheus was smaller than most and had a desire to see Jesus. Zaccheus climbed up a in tree to see Jesus. What are some areas in our own lives that don't measure up? We tend to distract from the insignificant things of ourselves or hide them. Zaccheus could do what he wanted - he had influence. Inside of Zaccheus was possibly brokenness, aloneness or areas that could never measure up. We tend to focus on the wrongs of people and often these are the things that are compensating for some kind of brokenness. God chose David to be king when he didn't measure up to his other brothers in outward ways but yet he had the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

We can have lots of good qualities but be lacking in some other qualities. God doesn't look at the same things that people look at. God looks at the lasting values in our lives. He wants to redeem and restore what is lacking in us. Zaccheus was an outcast - a Jew rejected by this people as a tax collector and rejected by Rome because he was a Jew. 

Verse 4 Imagine the commotion with Jesus coming to town and performing miracles. Zaccheus had heard about Jesus and this influential man did something childlike and climbed a tree. Jesus stopped at the tree - where Zaccheus was. Thinking of how lucky he was to be in this place to hear Jesus speak, now imagine his surprise when Jesus looked up to him. The Messiah and King looked up to the sinner and cheat. Jesus casts His eyes on the one who had been looked down upon by society. Can you hear the silence of the crowd? Jesus then calls his name, Zaccheus, identifying him by what he was meant to be. (His name meant innocent one, righteous one). Verse 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Do you think of your failures when your name is called? Zaccheus seemed to be looking for Jesus but actually Jesus was looking for Zaccheus. Jesus seeks each one of us by name, by what he calls us to be. Jesus knows each one of us. 

Jesus went to Zaccheus' house - how scandalous. Jesus goes into our places of condemnation, guilt, and trouble so that we can be set free. We tend to want to clean up first, to get ready first, but Jesus doesn't want us to hide our dirt. He knows and comes for us in our messes and shortcomings. Jesus calls each of us by name and invites us to go with Him.

In one moment, Zaccheus, verse 8, gives up his identity, giving away possessions and his claims to finances. He gave back more than what was required. These were chains for him. Zaccheus now walked with a new life and freedom.

Jesus puts value in each of us. He sees what we don't see. He comes to restore the life that we have wrecked. An encounter with Jesus is visible as we see how one freely gives away belongings. Zaccheus was changed from greedy to generous - can you imagine? One encounter with Jesus changed everything about Zaccheus' life.

Picture this:  Zaccheus knocking on the door of a family he had defrauded but not to collect or demand but to give back, confess, be generous, and tell about Jesus. It was Zaccheus trusting in the name of Jesus and making things right.

Zaccheus came down from the tree when Jesus called while Jesus went up a tree for us on the cross. Let's not wait for others to come to us but for us to give Jesus to others. Jesus stops for us. He knows where we are and offers salvation. 

We struggle with our shortcomings. We prop up things in our lives that bring value but it still lacks. Aloneness, inadequacies, busyness. He knows our name and will take away our aloneness. Let others pray with you and share your failure or defilements. 

Ask the Lord to be your Lord. It's about salvation. Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 

What areas of your life do you feel you come up short with God or others?

Where do you relate with Zaccheus?

Why do we feel we need to clean up before we come to God?

Do you believe that Jesus knows your name?