My roadmap.

But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.

Thank you for joining us this Sunday as we testify to the great salvation we have in our Lord and Savior.

Imagine if you will a great roll of writing paper. You take that roll and stretch it throughout your house. You start in the kitchen, run through the living room, dining room, through the halls, up the stairs, into the bedrooms, back down the stairs, back into the kitchen where you finish.

On this great scroll you write out the history of the world, the great and small events in twenty-year generational segments. You get to the modern age, and there is you – your birth and the important moments of your life.

Once finished, you step back and survey it all. Your roadmap. Now you can pick from these moments and see in each of them several things.

In these moments, we find causes for joy and sorrow, reasons for hope and despair. We also see across the great arc of history God’s abiding presence and call to His people, to you and me. We see where we have failed to heed His call to faithfulness. We also recognize the times we joyously returned to Him.

Today we have cause to consider return, the very reason we all join in this place of holiness and prayer, this place of encounter with Jesus and the moment where we repent and welcome Him into the house of our very bodies, hearts, and souls.

Jesus is journeying to Jerusalem to carry out His Father’s will. The last town He comes to is Jericho. You may remember that the man robbed in the story of the Good Samaritan was journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho. It was a well-traveled route, and the one Jesus would take.

Jericho was the place! It was the most perfect of cities. Temperate weather year-round, balsam trees, feathery palms, low slung sycamores, roses. It was a fragrant place. It was wealthy because it stood along this major trade route. Everyone was there. Yet in this very perfect place you’d find tax collectors and robbers.

Among the tax collectors was Zacchaeus, Zacchai, little Zach, a man with a name that means ‘the just, pure, innocent one.’

Imagine, like you, little Zach stretched out a great scroll around his grand home. There he considered his life in the span of history. Among his wealth and comforts derived from being unjust, Zach recalled his parents who named him the just, pure, and innocent one. Struck by the contrast of who he was to be, who God wanted him to be, and what he was, he ran out to meet Jesus. So here we are as well. We know what we are called to be, we know we fall short of God’s call, and our reality. So, we are here to meet Jesus.

We have our timelines and no matter who we are it ends right now. We do not know what the next minute will bring. So like Zach it is imperative that we meet the Lord, turning our lives to Him, changing as we must, for He is the only roadmap to salvation. May we hear Him calling our name – for He knows us. May we welcome Him into the temple of ourselves and live up to who He wants us to be.

Worthy of the
call.

But you spare all things, because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!

Jesus’ meeting with Zacchaeus is one of the most beautiful encounters in the gospel. It is beautiful and poignant because it speaks to us in the ways we fall short of the call we have received and the hope we have for coming to worthiness.

St. Paul tells the Thessalonians to be worthy of the call. Jesus reminds Zacchaeus to live up to his call.

Let’s take apart the words here.

First, Jesus had no intention of hanging out in Jericho. The gospel tells us “[He] intended to pass through the town.”

But… there was this man Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus the short, the tiny, the little. It wasn’t so much about Zacchaeus’ physical stature, but rather his spiritual standing.

God’s only Son, Jesus, passing through the town comes across one fallen, one with great spiritual and moral shortcomings. and stopped as Wisdom says God does. The Lover of souls takes time to call Zacchaeus down from his lofty position and back to the reality of one called, a son of Israel and child of God. Jesus’ presence calls Zacchaeus to abandon his former ways … and he does.

Notice, Zacchaeus stands, stands on his own feet to be seen and heard by all. He renounces his former life and in doing so finds salvation. And not just Zacchaeus, but salvation had come to his entire house. 

There is such hope here. There is such promise!

Zacchaeus, like we, was the holder of God’s promise. He was not an outsider, not a castaway, forgotten – and Jesus did not pass him by. Jesus passes no one by. The Holy Spirit’s call to faith echoes in each person’s ears. We are all called as is every human being. There is no ‘them’ in the promise of hope. 

The call rang out in Zacchaeus’ heart, come unto Jesus. So, he climbed. It has rung out in our hearts – it is why we are here. It is ringing in ears across this city, county, state, nation, and world. We must therefore live worthy of the call, using the grace and power given us to powerfully bring to fulfillment the good God asks of us, the effort of faith. Let us bring in of the harvest through the word of hope we hold, the example we offer.