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A Man up a Tree

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2022 4:00 am

A Man up a Tree

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 27, 2022 4:00 am

What kind of people would you seek for your team or committee? Probably not “the least, the last, and the left out”—but Jesus does! Listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg to find out what happened when a despised tax collector encountered Jesus.


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Putting together a team or committee kind of people would you be looking for probably wouldn't be looking for the least or the last or the left out that's exactly what Jesus did today on Truth for Life will find out what happened when an unscrupulous despised tax collectors had an encounter with Jesus. Alistair Beggs teaching from Luke chapter 19 verses one well if you look carefully at the material that surrounds this you will be aware of the fact that what Luke is providing us with here is a description of Jesus last personal encounter before he arrives in Jerusalem back in chapter 5. Luke recorded the party at the house of Levi who was also a tax collector, and on that occasion. Luke tells us that the religious authorities complained about the way in which Jesus was apparently choosing his companions and he had asked him why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners, and on that occasion Jesus had made it clear to them that you don't go to the doctor unless you need him and once again here in verse 10 of chapter 19 Outlook summarizes for us the ministry of Jesus.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost LSA. Just a word about the background here in terms of first of all, the place of the place itself was a desirable place that is Jericho in the city of Jericho. There were four forts there were the gardens of Archelaus and the description of the place.

At that time was of waves of feathery palms endless stretches of rose gardens large sweetscented balsam plantations behind the royal gardens and perfume carried on the breeze. Perhaps the key to why it was called Jericho which actually means perfumed its claimant was wonderful to even in the winter. The residence could only bear the lightest of clothing on their backs. It was a strategic place on the caravan route from Damascus to Arabia. It was both a military center as well as a commercial center and so the population was diverse try to get a sense of the vibrancy other than the die mentions of it.

The way in which if we had from a vantage point, look down on it would have seen life going on all of the bits and pieces of life families gathering for breakfast and people going out to work coming home again and asking questions of their children and in the midst of all of that. This little man whom we are about to meet for the procession as it came through town was a matter of significance, not just this procession, but any procession.

Jericho was the last station on the road that was taken by festive programs from Galilee and Berea on their way up to Jerusalem and it was the custom for the townsfolk when a festive band came through to go out in order to greet them, perhaps to sell to them if they were trading to catch an opportunity of purchasing from them things that couldn't be purchased in Jericho to welcome them and to watch and hopefully to encourage some of them to spend the night with them in order that they might get revenue from that in the crowds there would be men who wondered about who would be there. In particular, this procession, insofar as the world would've preceded them. That included in this group was none other than Jesus of Nazareth and so there would be those who would be wondering, having had something of Jesus whether he would speak with her.

He would perform a miracle will he teach us one of his parables. Will he be the guest of one of the leading religious or social figures, and of all the possibilities in the minds of the citizens probably none, maybe one at the farthest notion of what was about to take place and were introduced to Zacchaeus, he entered Jericho and was passing through and behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. Ironically, his name means the just for the pure, his mom and dad had taken him and said let's call him Zacchaeus. Let's pray that he will be the embodiment of his name that he will be just and for justice that he will be pure that he will be righteous is an amazing irony is that in light of what we know of him in light of the way in which he had been running his life because were told that he was a chief tax collector. In other words, the way in which the system works. If you include in the kind of multiplication re-exponential growth factor that was built in to the duplicity and the bribery that was part of it. You could really align your nest if you wear a tax collector, but particularly if you had risen to be a chief tax collector at the disrepute in which these forms were held is really significant in those of us who are second world war buffs might be able to get close to it by realizing that Zacchaeus in this kind were as heated as Nazi collaborators in occupied France. That's that's the extent of the disdain for this character in the population is not that he was parking his car opposite somebody's driveway and annoying them is not that he had a dog was barking in the middle of the night. It's not that his children were kicking balls up on the roof of the next-door neighbor is nothing superficial like that at all is a deep seated hatred of this kind of individual and of what he represented in terms of lining his own nest at the expense of his own people's disrepute is hard to quantify. He had a house, probably a nice one. He had a job despised your he had money. He was small and he had a desire that he wanted to see Jesus died in itself is of significance because not everybody wants to see Jesus. But this little man was seeking to see who Jesus was made under his bed that night. Presumably, and he said you know when he put a company set out his clothes for the morning.

British she was under his bed. He said when I get up in the morning. I want to get up pronto. I'm going to go see who this Jesus person is I may at least get a glimpse of him tomorrow. I wonder what it possibly was simply curiosity laser curious kind of person he doesn't want to miss much use. Probably not the kind of individual that wants to be behind the trends curiosity or it might've been connection may be a connection of tenuous connection but one nevertheless with Levi. The word may have gone right through the system. The tax collectors and publican system that one of their own had actually been hosting a big party at his house for none other than Jesus of Nazareth and that would've made them nudge one another and wonder perhaps it was not connection. Perhaps it was his conscience rights when he laid in his bed at night and he realized exactly what he was doing. He tried to explain it away, but he couldn't and his conscience kept accusing him. Perhaps he laid in his bed and he said you know I can keep on like this. I'm going to have to make a change was a conscience was a compassion was in the fight of the world that it spread concerning Jesus was that he was so unlike the religious fellows who are always picking faults who were always finding everything wrong and the word was out that this Jesus was a compassionate soul that he is tying for individuals that appoint a fight. He seemed to go for the least likely individual that he was always looking for the person or was it the end of the line he was looking for the left out individual you.

He hadn't come just looking for cheerleaders and and quarterbacks in fighting.

He didn't really seem to be very concerned with those folks maybe was compassion maybe was companionship. It had been Jesus had become a friend to many.

Indeed, it said of him that he was a friend of sinners. That was a bum rap that he got that he was a friend of sinners. The Pharisees didn't like that.

That was it was a matter of disdaining him before a sinner you can. He's a friend of sinners. That's why when you go back to Luke chapter 15 as you the story of the lost coin, and the lost sheep of the lost boys. It starts off by saying that all the Pharisees were monitoring and the sinners were coming to hear what he had to say he would not have very many friends really except his own kind longing for friendship on a superficial level. Evidence said that he knows that he goes into his big house because with all this cash goes with all of his apparent influence and on the outside. It must've looked okay but on the inside all that superficial stuff could not compensate for the vibe that his feet never actually went down onto a solid foundation. There was no rock beneath them that could sustain it. All of that and more. Besides, presumably, is wrapped up in his longing to see Jesus somewhere inside of this we man. There was a D nameless, irresistible work to meet Jesus, but he was hindered he was actually as hindered as the blind man who been calling out the blind man couldn't see. Neither could Zacchaeus.

He couldn't see for a different reason. When he was a determined little character he wouldn't have done as well and business of the hadn't been any cast aside all restraint were told in this well-known account. He ran ahead, small in stature and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him. You know, is know you're supposed to do it imaginative if the local bank manager in your small town in in in chagrin Falls in Ohio when we had the Memorial Day parade and everybody's just are coming with their lawn chairs and everything else in the local by manager starts climbing up a lamppost in the in the middle in the middle of the time and if you look and see what what what is Mr. Jenkins doing up there, but apparently he hasn't been able to see this last a while that he thought if he would climb up that you said that looks absolutely ridiculous to me.

I mean, how important is it for him to see servicers apparently is very important because you know his friends, most of the Sandman. Zacchaeus is apparently lost his mind.

He climbs up into the wind, welcoming branches of the sycamore tree. The only road that Jesus can take is the road that he is on. He's coming. Zacchaeus is waiting. This scene is set so I ran I had climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way and when Jesus came to the place he looked up forcibly came to the place that's remarkable in itself, and that a lot of places you can install presumably but he stops in that place you'd almost think it was planned.

Would you Zacchaeus must've been freaked out just by that himself is can you believe this.

The procession stops is like you know when the president comes or something and you and you go on your stand in the street and the cavalcade starts right where you are. You go can you believe this is start right here that's accused he's looking down now at the head of Jesus saying to himself this is fantastic.

I this is more than I hoped for. I thought I might build to see that he says always looking at me and he looked up all those faces all those eyes at high level but he looks up and raises six years to kiss most almost fall another tree at that point was after when he went to bed the previous night. He was hoping for a glimpse.

Now he's involved in a conversation now.

It's as though they had agreed to meet those three. This is all of eternity had planned this moment is God is an estimable plan of salvation determined that in this moment and that this place and that they streak a divine encounter would take place. That's exactly what was happening. That's exactly what that is what is always happening.

Some of you can remember a place where you met Christ. 19 of been here precious to you and understandably so. Here Jesus stops and addresses the least likely to be noticed.

These hidden up in a tree. The most hindered and coming on account of his stature. I get the most concern of all to see Jesus mother just reinforces what the gospel writer is telling us that Jesus is committed to seeking out the least in the last on the left out throngs in the street and one of the tree.

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, whose looking for. Who in the story you got it JK is hurry up and get down I'm going to stay at your house today.

I must state your house today. Why must he stay at his house today. The answer is in verse 10 is not so we hurried and came down.

I don't how high up. He was sorry hurried and came down just a how you hurried down the enemy came down the tree boom is down the tree and he received him joyfully says Edgar Schein and Edgar Schein's book on Jesus is over is just absolutely super hundreds of pages what he writes is a converted Jew and and does so with great insight. Here's is one of his sentences concerning the fight that he hurried and gained on the tree. Anderson says in that dim twilight of the new day and at this new creation. The angels sang and the sons of God shouted together and always melody and harmony in his heart. Nothing was as yet clear to but always joyous in his soul and then murmurs the grumbly verse begin in verse seven and when they saw it, they all praise God know they all grumbled they all grumbled back to the same old story. We just don't get it. Why does he keep hanging around with the same wretched sinful people know we have no record of the private conversation between Jesus and Zacchaeus in the home per se tells us of the transformation which gives evidence of the new life that is not his whole current of his life has been turned. The rubber has become the giver and so Jesus is if you want to know what is happened here today salvation has come to this house. Zacchaeus had not found purpose in his life right. He didn't need purpose in his life's purpose in his life was absolutely clear. Get as much as you can get by whatever underhanded means you need to use in order to satisfy your wretched soul that was the purpose in his life. So Jesus in the privacy of a conversation obviously didn't have a conversation with him about you feeling a little lost to gears or are you feeling purposelessness.

Zacchaeus would've gone on now, you probably send and receive Zacchaeus. He said Lester's lesser state the law of God for a moment let's let's just start with what you know you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength and have you loved your neighbor as yourself. Zacchaeus would've said no. I absolutely have not. The system will you see what you need. Zacchaeus is not purpose it is salvation only tell you when you speak to your friends. You've got to make sure that you don't get yourself hung up on that felt need journey because there's nowhere to go from there.

You must stick with explaining the gospel. If you simply say to people well if you are you missing a little purpose in your life. The Geiser's purpose in my life. Let me let me let me show you my diary for for the next six months I got purpose coming out my ears well are you are you feeling unfulfilled all along bye-bye my wife is fantastic and my kids are average and the jobs okay now so where you going to go over there so I was going to tell you he said you know purpose. I could tell you about if you said you were unfulfilled. The negative you can tell them that even Jesus in your heart, but he may city of these get booed in his heart and were you going to do then then you have to say whoa one Jesus equals to put us in on several know I Jesus is that this unit see you immediately and see us probably going to use the Bible to explain the gospel to our friends at first we need to understand it for ourselves is the law of God convicts us of our sin of our brokenness of the fight that we have engaged substitute God's easy.

Zacchaeus had broken the first commandment he loved something other than God much more and Jesus had come to deal with that salvation has come to his house's wonderful is not just I wish I look forward to meeting Zacchaeus will be in well I you do to remember that song from Sunday school that you have heard of little Moses in the bulrush you have heard of fearless David enter sling you have heard the story told of dreaming. Joseph and of Jonah and the whale, I often sing. There are many, many others in the Bible as you like to meet them all. I do declare and by-and-by the Lord will surely let us meet them at that meeting in the air because there's going to be a meeting in the air and the sweet sweet bye and bye and I'm going to meet you meet you over there in that home beyond the sky and such singing, you will here never heard by mortal year glorious, I do declare God's own son will be the leading one in the meeting in the air and if somehow or another we can all get together we will have one evening will have when Nicodemus another evening will have for the guy who was on the bad. Another even while the woman of the well see how good-looking she really is. Then will have an and will just be fantastic.

Will you be there by grace through faith, as you met Jesus up a tree on a bed in the night at the well.

What is all about. It is a divine encounter with Jesus that can transform a greedy, self-centered crook into a generous giver listing to Truth for Life with Alister, beg Alister will be back in just a minute. Alister just mentioned, we need to understand and use the Bible to explain the gospel to others. That's why at Truth for Life. We teach directly from the pages of Scripture affect our mission is to open the Bible every day so you can better understand what God's word says and how it relates to your daily life. We do this course with God's help we trust in his spirit to work to convert unbelievers to establish those who already believe and to encourage pastors to teach the Scriptures faithfully.

So along these lines, we hope you have grown in your relationship with Jesus as you listen to Truth for Life that if you have yet to request the book we been talking about recently titled saints and scoundrels.

It's available for a few more days.

The author is Nancy Guthrie and she helps us get to know some of the people in the Gospels is more than simply Bible characters. She also shows us how Jesus extended grace and forgiveness to each of them request a copy of the book sinks and scoundrels would give a donation to support the ministry of Truth for Life to give, click on the image in the mobile app or visit us online at now, here's Alister to close with prayer father, thank you thank you that the Son of Man came to seek and to save those that were lost when I was lost. You came and rescued me reach down into the pit and lifted me.

Oh God.

Such grace I am is loved by you as I could be you know all the things I've ever done. And yet your blood has canceled everyone, oh God. Such grace to qualify me as your own.

We thank you for the wonderful good news of the gospel. Thank you that in each of these little vignettes we see fresh evidences of your loving initiative taking grace and the necessity of repentance and faith and belief. What a difference it must've made for Zacchaeus, then to open his home. All of that stuff even when he given it away. He probably had plenty left plenty to share plenty to enjoy plenty to have sanctified by the amazing goodness of God so that help us to respond accordingly us the spirit of God works within our heart, so that on the day when we stand before you may do so on the shame closed in a righteousness that we don't deserve imputed to us in Christ himself, for we pray in his name. Amen about the pain. Hope you can join us tomorrow will hear about a dramatic act of devotion that incurred both admiration and astonishment Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by truth learning is for

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