The practices that begin a relationship with Jesus are the same practices that grow a relationship with Jesus. It is critical how we approach Christ, and how we respond to Christ. He we follow Jesus’ teachings we then can become what God wants us to be: reflections of the image of His Son.
18:35-43 & 19:1-10
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. 36 When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. 38 So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
- Everywhere Jesus went crowds followed, they called him ‘Jesus the Nazarene’
- When the beggar starts yelling: ‘Jesus Son of David’, he is told to be quiet!
- He just yelled Louder, but same thing: ‘Son of David’
- Calling Jesus ‘Son of David is calling Him Messiah / THE Son of David
- He is asking for mercy, this is an approach from brokenness not entitlement
- The beggar is persistent.
40 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”“Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
- Jesus ‘heard him’… He heard the beggar call him Messiah
- He stops, says: ‘bring that guy’ and then the beggar approaches Christ
- He doesn’t ask for eternal life from the one he has identified as Messiah, why?
- What is most important to him, what amounts to mercy for him is SIGHT
42 And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” 43 Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
- Christ is quick to accommodate the request
- Christ identifies the conduit that brought God’s healing to the beggar
- The Beggar responds by becoming Christ’s follower and giving God the credit
- It was the general consensus among those who witnessed it that God did it!
SO the crowd grows! And Christ continues into Jericho
1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
- Chief tax collector in the region is a big deal (Levi / Matthew similar position)
- These were private contractors, entrepreneurs who bid for the job
- It was understood: ‘tax collectors’ were traitors that helped Rome oppress Israel
- He was unable to get through the large crowd, could have gone back inside
- But something was drawing Zacchaeus to Jesus… He became persistent
- He got up in the tree! This kind of tree is easy to climb, they grow horizontally
- Not only would he see Jesus, Jesus could not miss him!
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! 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 people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
- Zacchaeus appears to not say a word, hanging out being humble
- Christ knew Zacchaeus just like He knows you and me
- Jesus says: ‘I want to be your guest, I know your deal, things are changing’
- But the ‘Crowd’ didn’t like that Christ had picked Zacchaeus to stay with
- People who don’t understand who Christ is are always critical of what He does
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
- While everyone else was ‘second guessing’ God… Zacchaeus gets real with Jesus
- He pledges actions in response to the personal invite to be together
- He is going to not only make it right, he is going to sacrifice his rightful earnings
- Zacchaeus is a camel going through the eye of the needle!
- What seemed impossible for someone like him, became possible with God
- The approach enabled the response
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
- Christ declares salvation is here right now
- Zacchaeus has become a true child of faith through his response / action
- Jesus is in the biz of finding guys like Zacchaeus, guys and girls like us
- He finds us in our lostness and changes everything, like He did for Zacchaeus!
Those who have it hard in this life readily recognize Jesus as God.
When Jesus is approached as Lord & Christ, HE will bring healing to your life.
Faith in Jesus as ‘The Christ’ not only heals; it makes you follow Him and praise Him.
Our response to Christ’s love should be extravagant and cost us things we valued.
A Son of Abraham believes God is who He says He is; that is the basis of salvation.
Christ is going to seek those who realize they are lost.
God enables us to approach Him with humility, repentance, trust and persistence.
When we approach Jesus like this we come to know Him as The Christ / God
THE GOSPEL: When we recognize Jesus as The Christ we become ‘Children of Faith’!
What does it mean Biblically for us to recognize Jesus as ‘Son of David’?
What’s Christ specifically done for you, causing you to actively follow & worship Him?
How can you be more like Zaccheaus? (Persistent, Humble, Trusting, & Repentant)
How do you recognize your lostness while showing yourself to be a child of faith?