Faith Chapel

A Wee Little Gospel Story

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Don Pate


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000022

00:29 Hello and welcome.
00:30 And I am so privilege to be with you
00:33 as we spend some time in the word.
00:35 I'm Don Pate from Between The Lines
00:37 and I'm looking forward to spending
00:38 the next few minutes with you as we go back
00:42 into the Gospel era to seek to know Jesus better
00:46 and I don't think it's gonna hurt any of us.
00:48 In fact I've come to the place where I really-really believe
00:50 that no matter what the format is,
00:53 no matter where I am at
00:54 that if I can take people back to Jesus,
00:57 we're all going to be better forward.
00:59 And so I just thank you for the privilege
01:02 of being with you as we spend time in the word today.
01:05 Let's pray, Father, thank you so much
01:08 for the wonderful opportunity that we have to open the text
01:11 and know that the spirit of Christ
01:17 can come in a special way to bring the life
01:21 in the ministry of our Lord to life for us today.
01:25 We pray that this would be real in the next few minutes
01:28 as we join together in the word.
01:30 This is our prayer in Christ name, amen.
01:35 In don't know if perhaps in your life
01:38 maybe you have a Caller I.D.
01:40 you know, many people do Caller I.D
01:42 of course is that fixture, that box
01:45 that is tied to the telephone line.
01:47 So that unless there's some you know,
01:49 number block or something like this
01:51 so that you're able to before you pick up the phone,
01:53 you're able to know
01:54 who's on the other end of the line.
01:56 And if you're anything like me, we've Caller I.D.
02:00 and there are reasons for it
02:01 and sometime's it's a time efficiency thing.
02:04 Sometimes you can get yourself into situations
02:08 where you look at the box and you see that
02:12 a certain name comes up and you go, oh no, oh no,
02:14 I promised that person, I would get them
02:17 a certain piece of information or something like that,
02:19 I haven't done it yet and so I either,
02:21 you know, I can pick up the phone
02:22 and sit there and apologize profusely,
02:24 or I can just not pick up the phone you know.
02:27 And avoid the confrontation a little bit
02:30 and may be get the information
02:32 and call them back in 15 minutes or something,
02:34 you know, your pride is on the line
02:36 or there are other times and may be
02:37 you know as well as I do this, there are certain people
02:39 that there's no such thing as a short conversation.
02:42 That when they get involved in conversation,
02:45 you're gonna be there for a while
02:46 unless you're gonna be rude
02:47 and if you don't want to be rude,
02:49 how do you avoid the conversation
02:50 when you got an appointment in five minutes.
02:53 You know, you got to get out the door
02:54 and you got to get to your appointment
02:55 and you see that name on the box and you say,
02:59 I can't afford right at this moment
03:00 to pick up that phone,
03:01 because I don't have the time to invest right now
03:04 that is necessary for this person.
03:06 And there're various reasons for having Caller I.D.
03:09 And obviously Caller I.D, one other things
03:13 that it does for you is it keeps you
03:15 from walking into circumstances and get caught by surprise.
03:21 because if you see that name on the box
03:24 you're not gonna be surprised.
03:25 Has it ever crossed your mind friend.
03:28 has it ever crossed your mind
03:29 that Jesus had an innate Caller I.D.
03:35 That there was no circumstance
03:37 of His ministry that He walked into,
03:41 that He wasn't fully aware before He got there.
03:45 Of all the ramifications of the possibilities
03:48 of what's going to happen if I confront this person,
03:52 if I stand next to them, if I allow them to come to me,
03:54 if I cross their path.
03:56 Jesus knew the whole package
03:58 of what was happening around the circumstance.
04:01 Not just with that woman at the well and her background,
04:06 and the Samaritan issues within the mentality of Judaism
04:11 His disciples expectations, Jesus saw the whole picture
04:16 which to me is remarkable because there are times
04:19 when Jesus was walking into a hornet's nest.
04:22 It was almost like He was either asking for trouble,
04:27 or He was going specifically for the purpose of you know,
04:33 breaking things open, wide open
04:35 to allow His disciples to have to deal with it.
04:39 You know, sometimes there were issues
04:40 of bigotry and prejudice
04:41 and it was almost like Jesus looked at His disciples
04:44 as He would go walking into these situations
04:46 and say, come on friend, you got to deal with it.
04:49 I am not going to just, you know,
04:52 meander around your bigotry.
04:55 We gonna have to comfort it
04:57 and there were things like that.
04:59 And one of the stories in the Gospels
05:01 that is so good and yet sadly it seems to me,
05:04 it's one of those that we tend
05:06 to relegate off to the children.
05:08 There are some that are that way,
05:10 you know, maybe you never felt that way.
05:13 I used to think that there were certain stories
05:15 that God put in the Bible specifically because He knew
05:19 we needed to entertain children.
05:21 "Jonah and the whale", "Daniel in the Lion's Den",
05:25 I mean these are stories that just amaze the children,
05:29 but not really for adults, you know.
05:31 That's not really a big adult story.
05:34 And of course then Paul confronts me and he says,
05:39 you know everything is in the Bible for a reason,
05:42 for admonition, for teaching correction
05:45 he says in Corinthians, so I have to deal with that.
05:49 Paul confronts my bigotry.
05:51 I have to deal with the fact
05:52 that apparently "Jonah and the whale"
05:55 it's in here for me, for me to grow up,
06:00 for me to stretch, for it to stretch me.
06:05 "Daniel in the Lion's den", David killing the bear,
06:10 all of these things, Samson, they aren't just for children
06:15 and one of the stories that gets relegated,
06:18 I think often sort of categorized
06:19 off for children is found in only one Gospel account.
06:24 It's in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 19 and I certainly
06:27 would invite you to take your Bible and turn there.
06:29 Luke Chapter 19.
06:31 Now it doesn't surprise me that Luke
06:34 is the only Gospel writer who spends time with this.
06:38 The reason being, as you probably know,
06:41 Luke was a late edition
06:45 into the early package of Christianity,
06:49 into the early leadership of the movement, the faith.
06:54 Luke was not one of the original 12,
06:57 Luke was not one of the original 120.
07:01 He wasn't part of the old foundational
07:04 main stream of the Christian movement.
07:08 He was a later convert who came in
07:12 and he came in at a time
07:14 when there was an influx of the Gentile converge.
07:22 That the farther you went into the history of the church
07:26 as you remember from the Book of Acts,
07:27 originally it was predominantly a Jewish church.
07:34 You know, almost everyone who was an early follower
07:37 of Jesus came from Jewish heritage.
07:39 But then once they bridged out of Jerusalem to Judea
07:45 to Samaria and the other most parts of the earth
07:48 that there began to be people who were coming
07:52 into the house of faith out of the Gentile world.
07:56 And this became a very stretching problem
07:58 in the early church of course
07:59 and you actually come in Acts Chapter 6,
08:02 so the confrontations between the expectations
08:04 of the Gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians
08:07 and how they created the level or the order of the deacons
08:12 if you want to use that term.
08:14 They created a ministry of the deacon to help resolve
08:17 what once was originally a predominantly
08:21 Jewish house of faith that was becoming,
08:23 you know, fewer and fewer Jews in the house of faith
08:26 and started out as a small minority of Gentiles
08:30 and growing, growing, growing, growing.
08:32 It was in this transition phase between Judaism and Gentile,
08:36 that was tough time.
08:38 That was hard for the church to go through
08:42 that stretching and change from being
08:44 predominantly Jewish to Gentile.
08:46 While Luke is part of that package.
08:47 Luke is a late convert
08:49 who has some sensitivity for the Gentile mind.
08:56 He has probably a greater awareness for the problems
09:02 of the adult convert rather than somebody
09:05 who grew up in the house of faith.
09:07 And so it is that it doesn't surprise me
09:10 that Luke is the only one who deals with this story.
09:14 Because it's the story of someone
09:17 that easily is rejected.
09:19 It's a story that often we shove off
09:22 to the children because of a song.
09:25 Zacchaeus was a wee little man
09:27 And a wee little man was he
09:29 He climbed up in a sycamore tree
09:32 For the Lord he wanted to see
09:34 And as the Savior passed that way
09:36 He looked up in the tree
09:37 And He said, Zacchaeus, please come down
09:39 For I'm going to your house today
09:41 You probably have heard the children sing it.
09:44 We relegated often to the children
09:46 and it is a wonderful Gospel story
09:49 and it teaches me certain things about Jesus
09:51 that I hardly see in any other story.
09:55 Luke Chapter 19.
09:58 Now in order to understand the background of the story,
10:01 you have to understand that Jesus before Chapter 19.
10:05 As He comes walking into Jericho"
10:09 that's how the chapter starts.
10:10 He comes walking into Jericho, caller ID.
10:13 Jesus knew what He was getting into.
10:16 He was fully aware of the circumstance,
10:20 the prejudice, the expectation,
10:23 the background, He knew all of this
10:26 before He came walking into Jericho that day.
10:28 And He consciousl made the choice to interject
10:33 Himself into that experience, into that man's life,
10:37 into that town and their bigotry.
10:41 Jesus decidedly knew what He was doing.
10:44 He walked right into the middle of hornet's nest.
10:46 He could have avoided it.
10:50 There were other ways to get to Jerusalem.
10:52 There are other ways to get up the Jordan River valley.
10:56 You know, you could've got into
10:57 the Galilee by going in a different direction.
10:59 Jesus never had to go through Jericho.
11:04 It seems Jesus went there fully knowing,
11:07 knowing what He was doing,
11:08 fully aware of His purpose that day
11:12 And so it was that Jesus came,
11:15 it says in verse 1 of Chapter 19,
11:18 Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
11:21 "And, behold," verse 2,
11:23 "there was a man named Zacchius or Zacchaeus"
11:28 Now, we normally we say, Zacchaeus,
11:29 and so that's how I'll say it,
11:30 because it will probably bother you if I don't,
11:32 Zacchaeus, "Zacchaeus was chief among the publicans,"
11:39 Now that's terribly important.
11:41 He was not just a, to use a common vernacular term,
11:45 he wasn't just a grunt level, you know,
11:48 taxman like Matthew,
11:49 just a street collecting taxman.
11:52 He was closer to the hierarchy
11:56 of the empire, he was a middle man.
11:58 He was somebody up the establishment
12:01 of the taxation system of the empire.
12:05 He wasn't just the little guy on the street.
12:08 He was chief among the publicans.
12:12 And the verse ends and this is very important.
12:15 The verse ends, "and he was rich."
12:18 Now I don't know how much you know
12:20 about the Roman Empire and Roman taxation.
12:24 I created a deeper look study guide
12:26 for Between the Lines on taxes, on taxation in the Bible.
12:30 Let me share with you some of the things
12:33 I researched out about the Roman Empire
12:35 and the taxation system of the Roman Empire.
12:38 This was the life of Zacchaeus.
12:42 First of all, the senate in Rome
12:44 would hold auctions every five years
12:50 for the rights of dividing up the empire,
12:54 so that people could be the chief tax collector
12:57 of Egypt or the chief tax collector of Judea,
13:00 or the chief tax collector of Syria.
13:02 And so if you were a moderately wealthy person,
13:05 you would get some senator to somewhat sponsor you
13:08 to be part of the auction process
13:10 and if you bid high enough, you can outbid everybody else
13:14 who wanted to be the one, the magistrate
13:16 who is responsible for the taxation
13:18 of this region or that region.
13:21 So the senators are lining their pockets
13:23 with the auction process.
13:26 Now all that did was if you were the highest bidder,
13:29 all I do was give you the right then to be the one
13:32 who would levy the tax in your district.
13:35 Okay, Then the senate would say,
13:41 okay, you're going to be the taxman for Egypt
13:43 for the next five years,
13:45 because you outbid everybody else,
13:46 we've already got your money, okay.
13:48 We're going to say that you have to bring in
13:51 this much tax over the next five years.
13:54 We expect so many, you know, thousand talents of tax
14:00 within the next five years, this much,
14:04 this much over the next five years,
14:06 that's how much it better get to Rome.
14:07 Now how much you tax and how much you raise,
14:10 that's your business we don't care.
14:12 But this certain amount that it get to Rome,
14:15 better get to us.
14:16 So they've already lined their pockets,
14:18 the senators have already lined their pockets
14:20 with the auction process and then
14:22 they get to establish the taxation.
14:24 Now of course, you know that if you go to a warehouse
14:29 or wholesaler, generally you can save money
14:32 and the reason is you cut out the middleman.
14:35 It's because, you think about my pen,
14:40 I have my pen, someone actually gave me this pen.
14:43 Okay, where did I get my pen, well, it was given to me,
14:47 how did they get it? They bought it, okay.
14:49 They bought it from a retailer,
14:51 the retailer got it from the wholesaler,
14:53 the wholesaler got it from the trucker
14:55 who brought it into town.
14:57 The trucker, of course,
14:58 got it from the warehouse where they stored it.
15:00 The warehouse where they store the pen,
15:02 they got it from the manufacturer.
15:04 The manufacturer had to get the raw materials,
15:06 they had to get this is out of wood,
15:08 they had to get the wood from somebody,
15:10 they had to get the metal from somebody,
15:11 they had to get the insides of the pen from somebody,
15:14 okay, they had to get that.
15:16 The whole process, when you go to a wholesaler,
15:20 what you're trying to do is cut out
15:23 some of the layers of people
15:25 who are needing to make profit with this pen.
15:30 This person, if I could get this pen directly
15:34 from the manufacturer, I wouldn't have to pay
15:37 the price of the man who sells it in the store.
15:40 Now he needs to make his profits
15:42 so he can feed his family and pay his car payment.
15:45 And the person who supplies it to him, the trucker,
15:48 the trucker, of course, he's got his medical bills
15:50 with his kids and he's got to make a little profit too.
15:53 The more people you have in the system of the product,
15:57 the more people have to get profit out of it.
16:00 Well in the Roman taxation system,
16:03 that's how it happened.
16:04 This man who would bid in the auction
16:07 to receive the benefit of being the tax collector
16:12 for Galilee, Samaria, Judea whatever,
16:16 he wasn't going to go door to door,
16:19 knocking on door saying, okay, you know,
16:20 pay me your taxes, of course not.
16:23 He would hire a term that you know
16:26 it's a little derogatory, he hired grunts.
16:29 He would get somebody beneath him to do the dirty work.
16:32 And he would say to each of them,
16:35 okay, now you got such and such a--
16:37 you know, country or district or something region,
16:41 okay, within my territory of Egypt
16:43 you've got this region and you've got this region.
16:45 And I need this much tax from you each year
16:49 for the next five years.
16:50 And he had all calculated out, so he could cover
16:53 the necessary amount that he had to send to Rome.
16:56 Adding layer upon layer until finally
17:00 you ended up with the Matthew type,
17:03 the little street collector who also had to pay his bills.
17:06 He also had to feed his children.
17:08 He had his amount given to him, how much he had to bring in.
17:13 And each man along the line in hierarchy of taxation,
17:17 they all had to make profit and there was no limit.
17:22 There was no written tax code anywhere.
17:25 A taxman could tell you that your tax is worth this much
17:29 and you might say, okay, this much this year.
17:31 Next year he tell you this much and you had no recourse.
17:34 There was no appeal.
17:36 If he wanted profit, if he wanted to buy a yard,
17:40 if he wanted to get braces for his children's teeth,
17:42 you know, we do that today obviously
17:44 not in those days, whatever he wanted
17:46 to buy a new chariot, he might just tell you
17:49 your taxes were more so that
17:51 he could raise more money, the tax collector.
17:56 They would receive blocks of taxation.
17:59 They could open the mail,
18:01 they could open your mail, just open it,
18:03 just to decide whether or not you had more money
18:05 than they thought you had.
18:07 They could enter your house,
18:08 a tax collector, according to Roman law
18:10 can enter your house without even knocking.
18:12 He didn't need a search warrant or anything.
18:14 And so he can snoop and look under your bed
18:15 and look into the cabinets and say, you know,
18:17 this person has greater net worth than I thought he did.
18:21 According to the Mishnet, it says that the Rabbis
18:24 came to the place where this system was so corrupt,
18:26 the Rabbis believed that it was actually appropriate
18:31 to lie to a tax collector,
18:32 haven't expected you to lie to a tax collector,
18:36 that God would understand more than he expected it
18:39 because if you didn't lie to a tax collector
18:41 you were supporting the corrupt system
18:43 and therefore you were part of the sin.
18:45 It was very complex.
18:47 This man Zacchaeus was chief
18:49 among the publicans and he was rich.
18:51 Of course he was rich.
18:53 For years and years, he had been a major player
18:56 in a system that was guaranteed to be corrupt,
19:00 that was guaranteed to rip people off
19:04 and Zacchaeus had been part of it.
19:06 More than that of course you know,
19:08 it says that he was little of stature,
19:10 he was a wee little man, little stature.
19:13 You can think of all the issues of how that may have played
19:16 on his psyche as he was a kid grown up,
19:18 he was the runt, probably teased.
19:23 This man was not accepted in his society.
19:26 He represented an evil system and you remember of course,
19:31 in Deuteronomy, the Lord told the people
19:33 years before, "Don't give your loyalty to an alien ruler."
19:41 When they pay taxes to Rome, what were they doing?
19:44 They were crossing, what they believe God wanted them to do.
19:47 This whole system was doomed to create friction
19:51 and more than that, in Greece, you paid taxes to Rome.
19:58 In Egypt, you paid taxes to Rome.
20:00 In Judea, in Galilee, you paid taxes to Rome.
20:04 the problem was that wasn't the only place
20:07 that the Jewish people were being ripped off
20:09 in taxation, don't you remember?
20:13 Jesus Himself said that the temple of taxation process
20:17 was so corrupted, He called it a den of thieves.
20:21 These people, the Jewish people they were getting
20:24 crushed by the taxation of Rome with no recourse.
20:28 If a tax collector entered your house according
20:31 to the Mishnet, your house became virtually unclean,
20:36 and when you pay taxes to Rome,
20:37 you were supporting all of that.
20:38 Then you go off to Jerusalem to be involved in paying
20:41 your temple tax, you got ripped off down there too.
20:43 Little wonder a tax collector was held
20:47 in such disdain in the story.
20:50 He was chief among the publicans and he was rich.
20:54 Verse 3, "He was of little stature."
20:55 Notice verse 4, verse 4 says,
20:57 "He ran." Isn't that great?
21:00 This man didn't just sort of walk along and say,
21:03 you know, maybe I'll confront Jesus.
21:05 There was something that he had the conviction
21:08 of the Holy Spirit, about this man Jesus.
21:10 There was something about Jesus that caused
21:13 Zacchaeus to lose his sense of priority,
21:18 a short little man and he runs after Jesus.
21:22 And when he came, it says verse 4,
21:23 that he climbed the sycamore tree,
21:26 because he couldn't even get a good view of Jesus
21:28 because he was short.
21:30 You've got it, your need is got to be
21:33 a whole lot greater thing than your pride to do that.
21:36 This man's need was overwhelming him.
21:39 And his need obviously had nothing to do
21:41 with possessions because he was rich.
21:44 There was something inside that was wrong
21:47 that he couldn't get fixed,
21:50 but he sensed maybe Jesus has the answer.
21:55 And notice verse 5, this is so wonderful,
21:59 "When Jesus came to that place,"
22:01 Jesus knew what He was doing.
22:03 He knew where He was going,
22:04 He knew what He was walking into,
22:06 He had Caller ID for every situation.
22:08 When Jesus came walking up to the base of the tree,
22:10 He looks up and what does he say,
22:13 Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down;
22:18 for to day I must abide in thy house."
22:23 Now remember, remember what it says,
22:26 it said that if a tax collector came to your house,
22:31 your house became virtually unclean
22:34 and it rendered you unfit and unclean
22:37 and Jesus turns the tables on the story
22:40 by looking up in presence of all the people
22:43 in the community, they knew who this man was,
22:46 Jesus looks up and he says I'm going to your house.
22:50 Now you have to know you have to know,
22:52 that no decent citizen of Jericho
22:57 had ever set foot in Zacchaeus' house.
23:02 If Zacchaeus came to your house,
23:04 it created problems for you.
23:05 Why would you show up in his place?
23:08 Jesus said, I'm going to your house
23:11 and that so overwhelmed this man in his need
23:16 that he hustle down out of the tree,
23:18 he was absolutely just beside himself
23:24 at the fact that somebody would think enough of him
23:30 that they would come to his house
23:33 and what did it cause Zacchaeus to do, do you remember?
23:38 It says verse 6, "He made haste,
23:40 he came down, he received him joyfully."
23:42 Verse 7, "When they say they murmured"
23:44 well of course, they murmured.
23:46 What's wrong with this prophet from Nazareth?
23:49 What's wrong with this man?
23:50 Doesn't he have any sense,
23:51 I mean,he's gonna go to the home of a publican,
23:55 a man who is a half step away from Rome
23:58 and all the evil that Rome represents
24:00 and the corruption of the system.
24:02 What's wrong with this man?
24:04 They murmured, of course, they murmured
24:06 because it kind of cross their expectations,
24:09 so decidedly they murmured.
24:13 That Jesus was going to be the guest
24:15 and it says at the end of verse 7,
24:18 "Because that man was a sinner."
24:21 He was publicly a sinner.
24:24 He was officially part of a system
24:26 that was corrupt and everybody knew it.
24:29 And it is so wonderful because Zacchaeus stood
24:31 in front of Jesus, verse 8, this is so good.
24:34 he said to the Lord, "Behold Lord,
24:38 half of my goods I'm gonna give to the poor.
24:42 And if I have taken anything from anybody
24:46 by false accusation, I'm going to restore him fourfold."
24:52 Zacchaeus, who do you think you're kidding!
24:54 Come on, friend, think about it.
24:58 This man has been part of a corrupt system
25:02 for probably his whole adult life.
25:06 He's been in a system that just absolutely required him
25:11 to rip people off, to be unjust to them,
25:14 that's the only way he could survive.
25:17 He had to grease the pockets of people
25:18 above him on the way to Rome.
25:21 And the Bible said he became very rich doing it.
25:24 He was very good at this.
25:26 This man had cheated everybody in the region, surely.
25:31 There probably wasn't anybody standing in the crowd
25:33 that day that this man Zacchaeus had not
25:37 taken things by false accusation.
25:41 They felt that they could lie to him
25:43 that it was their sacred duty to lie to him,
25:45 because he was part of a system that was so wrong.
25:48 And as he stands there in the presence of everybody
25:51 who is there on that day, every member of the community
25:54 stands there and he says, I'm just gonna,
25:58 I'm just gonna give it away.
26:00 I'm just going to give it away and he makes a promise,
26:02 now think about it.
26:04 He makes a promise that to every degree of logic,
26:09 I fully believe this is a promise he could not keep.
26:15 How was he going to pay everybody back
26:17 who that he cheated four times over?
26:24 Where was he going to come up with the resource
26:26 that would allow him to do that?
26:28 His promise is preposterous.
26:31 It probably is a promise he can't keep
26:35 and yet he is so overwhelmed in the story.
26:37 This man is so overwhelmed in his gratitude to Jesus
26:40 who accepted him, who saw battle you in him
26:44 when nobody else would.
26:46 He is so overwhelmed by the sense of Jesus
26:51 accepting him that he just without thinking,
26:56 started making promises he probably couldn't keep
26:58 and what I really love is Jesus doesn't chew him out.
27:00 Jesus doesn't say, don't do that Zacchaeus,
27:02 come on, now, you know, come back to reality,
27:04 you're not really gonna be able to do that?
27:07 Jesus accepted the fact that
27:08 he was so childish in his outlandish promise.
27:12 Jesus probably found that incredibly rewarding
27:14 although I doubt, I sincerely doubt
27:16 Zacchaeus could have kept the promises he was making.
27:20 Isn't that great?
27:22 Do you my friend ever feel disfranchised
27:26 on the fringe, unaccepted, rejected.
27:29 Do you know that kind of life?
27:31 If so I would urge you to go back to Luke 19
27:34 often and read this, wee little Gospel story.
27:40 And recognize that Jesus, my friend,
27:42 He is never gonna walk away from you.
27:44 He is never going to turn His back on you and say,
27:46 you know, you're not quite good enough for me,
27:49 that's not what the Gospel is all about.
27:51 The Gospel is all about Messiah who reaches
27:54 to extend the arms of heaven and mercy.


Revised 2014-12-17