Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: March 26, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Seeking and Saving the Lost
He [Jesus] 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."
New American Standard Bible
1. This event in Jesus' life takes place as he makes his way to Jerusalem. Read Jesus' words in Luke 13:31-35. What will take place upon Jesus' arrival and entry into Jerusalem?
2. Zaccheus is a curious character-a perennial favorite of children's Bible stories. What do you know about tax collectors in Roman Palestine? Read Luke 18:9-15 for some possible insight. Who might we consider the modern equivalent of a first century Tax Collector and why?
3. We are told that Zaccheus was a short man and therefore had to climb a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Does it strike you as ironic that in making Jesus more visible to himself, Zaccheus made himself more visible to Jesus?
4. Even as Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem in order to be faithful to the Father's plan, he takes the time to visit with Zaccheus. Is this encouraging to you? If so, why?
5. Re-read verse 5. Jesus addresses Zaccheus with a tone of urgency. Why might that be?
6. Zaccheus responds to Jesus invitation joyfully. Not everyone is joyful, however. Some grumble--who? Why might this be their reaction? Have you ever found yourself grumbling at God's generosity to someone?
7. What is Zaccheus' response to Jesus presence? What does he say in verse 8? What's remarkable about Zaccheus' offer?
8. Read Exodus 22:1, Leviticus 6:5, and Numbers 5:7. How does Zaccheus' offer compare with the requirements of the Mosaic Law?
9. How does Jesus respond to Zaccheus' offer? Jesus remarks, "he [Zaccheus] also is a son of Abraham" (v. 10). What do you think this means? Read Romans 9:6ff.
10. Re-read verse 10. What is Jesus' mission according to this verse?
Gracious Heavenly Father,
We come before you in many ways the same as Zaccheus-small, weak, un-popular, and in need of grace. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus who has reached out to us and has come into our lives and has wrought in us the grace of salvation. Help us, like Zaccheus, to turn from our sin and to do that which is right, all to your honor and glory.