Zacchaeus: Short in stature… Dirty hands 3 things that remind us the broken are the people Jesus travels with!

Zacchaeus: Short in stature… Dirty hands  
3 things that remind us the broken are the people Jesus travels with!
I have always been struck by the company that Jesus desired to keep. Jesus always spent time with the outcasts of society, the people that no one else wanted to associate with. These were people that made others cringe at the mere idea of them coming to your house, but these were Jesus’ people. One such person was a man named Zacchaeus. He was everything that made people of his day cringe. He was by the very definition: a traitor. At the time Jesus walked our earth healing and sharing, the people of ancient Israel were held captive by Roman rule. Rome had come and established themselves as the power in Jerusalem. They were not considered to be nice. In fact, throughout the whole of the gospels Jesus is constantly assumed to be overthrowing the Roman Empire.This was  because in his time it was the major concern for people of Israel. Zacchaeus however was a traitor! Zacchaeus,  while being a Jew, sold his own people out and started working for Rome. Not only did he work for them, but,  most scholars believe that in order for him to prosper he would have had to monies from  all the taxes he collected. If your taxes to Rome where $800,  he made them an even $1,000 and took  the top portion for himself. To say the least,  he was not considered  a good guy. However, this is who Jesus decided that he wanted to come see. Jesus entered the  city of Jericho and found Zacchaeus and invited himself over for dinner: this outcast, thief, traitor… dirty man.
I think that you and I know a thing or two about brokenness. We may not be the  Zacchaeuses of our society, but we know what it is like to be the person  not welcomed to the party. Maybe we were outsiders as children not coming from the right family. Maybe we were people having less than spotless “life records”. Whatever it was or is, we have all known the feeling of being the outsider. These were the people with whom Jesus decided to associate. It is amazing to myself, as a pastor.It presents a cause for personal concern. Jesus seemed to rebuke those religious leaders who thought they had it all right.

Jesus has more of an affinity for those not wearing religious robes!  

Jesus not only came alongside of this dirty, short man named Zacchaeus, but he did some amazing things that still matter today for the church and our practice of faith. Jesus is always inviting himself!
Jesus is like the friend that used to get you into trouble as a kid. He was the one that would invite himself over to our house. Although Jesus came not because of some childhood friendship, but Jesus came with the hope of restoration and wholeness. 2) Jesus does ministry with you!
Jesus didn’t  tell Zaccheus how awful he was or  how much of a sinner he was.  He simply engaged him with a desire to come to his home. In the text Jesus never told him how broken he was, he simply shared the space with him. Jesus truly represented the best part of humanity, in that he didn’t  pass judgment, but chose instead to walk alongside of someone and include them in the wholeness he was offering.  

Could you imagine churches where people were not rightfully accused of being judgmental to outsiders! This is Jesus’  idea of Church!

When I was a new Christian in Nye County Nevada, I will never forget the ministry that we as a community did to those outsiders. Nye County is one of the few counties in America that still has legalized prostitution. The church, as you could imagine, did not find this to be a good thing. While their reason for concern was valid, their expressions of Christian love and support were often far removed. The churches were more likely  to hold a protest at county commissioner meetings or hold “prayer vigils” to end the horrible acts being committed at the town limits.
In all my years in Nye County I could never imagine a group of Christians lovingly inviting a group of prostitutes over for dinner with the simple desire to feed them and to show them God’s loving care for them.

Jesus seems not to throw stones, but to share the love of the Father with all those He meets. We often wonder why the church is not growing in America. The simple answer is: it very seldom looks like Jesus.

3) Jesus is always inviting the broken to travel. I want to you think about this, one of the largest testimonies that exists is not the testimony of the righteous, but the unrighteous. Jesus surrounds himself with broken people like you and me. Jesus’ disciples are a great example of the brokenness that exists in the world.However, we,  as a church,  have managed to sanitize our gatherings to the  pseudo clean smell of a high school bathroom. Jesus’ desire was that we would provide a place that could hold the world’s brokenness knowing that transformation was only possible in Christ. It is the story of the broken being  made whole that makes a difference. We, as a church, are not looking for well adjusted  Christians, we are looking for broken people that are being made whole.  

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