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Word from Scotland

    by Sandy Shaw

Your Needs May Be Very Different - Are They?
Date Posted: April 1, 2024

We come to Luke Chapter 19 . At the end of Luke Chapter 18 , we read of that poor blind tramp, Bartimaeus, crying out to Jesus Christ for mercy and sight - and Jesus is so gracious and tender and powerful.

Just along the road we read of a man who was a rogue and a rascal - and very rich. Such a contrast! But he too is desperately wanting to see Jesus.

It is Zacchaeus - and he is a chief tax collector. Jericho had what we would call a Customs and Excise Post - and Zacchaeus was the senior officer - and he had fleeced the people. He had made a packet for himself on the side.

He was a little man who had asserted himself - he was the kind of man who would push himself forward - and that is not always a bad thing.

He had been a bit self-centred - and a swindler. He would have been involved in many illegal shady deals. He was NOT the kind of man you would have liked to have had around. He was NOT a popular man.

And yet, he so wanted to see Jesus. He had a need. O, the various types of people who want to see Jesus - and the variety of things that can happen once they meet Jesus.

Zacchaeus, being a little man, climbed a tree to make sure that he could see Jesus Christ when he came along the road. Nothing was going to prevent him from seeing Jesus - no-one was going to get in his road. "I must see him." Sometimes we have to look over people to see Jesus - to look beyond people to see Jesus.

Zacchaeus was well off - with a big bank balance - but an empty heart. But he had a hungry heart, and that can make all the difference. How hungry are you? How desperate are you at times?

Now - there were some surprises awaiting Zacchaeus.

1. Jesus noticed him. That could happen with you today. He thought he could hide up this tree. Perhaps he thought he could have a private peep at Jesus - but he wasn't going to be allowed to see Jesus without Jesus seeing him. He was not there by accident - and neither are you reading this piece by accident.

  1. Jesus addressed him - and talked with him - and he didn't expect that.
  2. Jesus knew him. They had never met. But Jesus knew his name as well as his need.
  3. Jesus called him. Nobody else would have called him.
  4. Jesus accepted him as he was.
  5. Jesus befriended him - here was a man who probably did not have a friend in the world.
  6. Jesus Christ preferred him to all the others - that must have touched Zacchaeus.
  7. And - he came when he was called. That is important. We cannot decide when we will come to Jesus - next week - next month - next year – NO! Jesus may not call us then - Jesus may have called someone else to do the job. Or we may have wandered away and we may not be in the right place to hear His Voice.

Zacchaeus came quickly - and got saved - rescued from the moral mess he was in. No questions - no arguing - no reservations. This was his last chance actually. Remember, Jesus was His way to Jerusalem - never again would Jesus be in Jericho.

Verse 7 . Look at the reaction of the people - murmuring - not pleased - jealous - even annoyed at Jesus - "Imagine Jesus going to his house for tea - when he could have come to our nice homes and our nice tables".

I tell you - if you do something for Jesus - there will be comment - there will be murmuring, criticism, opposition, comment. When you do something for God - expect that - learn to live with that - learn the lesson as soon as you can.

It is costly to serve Jesus Christ, in all sorts of ways.

Even preaching can be costly. I remember a friend who travels a lot was away preaching - and one of his little children was missing daddy - and one day there was a rumbling in the wardrobe - and when my friend's wife looked into the bedroom - here was the little child hugging daddy's clothes. He was missing daddy - and daddy was away from home serving Jesus Christ, the Lord, the King. Yes, it can be costly in all kinds of different ways.

Verse 8 . Zacchaeus came and said - LORD – O, that is important - to call Jesus, Lord. Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor - and if I have cheated any man falsely - I will restore him fourfold. Giving was a new experience for Zacchaeus.

Can you imagine him going and knocking on some doors? People would tremble when they looked out and saw who it was - the tax collector - here he is for more.

And Zacchaeus says - I took £200 from you more that I ought to have taken - here is £800 as compensation.

This was such a personal thing for Zacchaeus.

Someone spelled personal as - P.U.R.S.E. N. ALL. When a man is really saved - changed - transformed by God - it shows. Here is PROOF that something real had happened to Zacchaeus.

When a man is alive in Christ - you don't have to push him like a man in a wheelbarrow. Zacchaeus who had been so greedy - and always wanting to grab - is already giving.

Once you come to Jesus Christ things change - and it shows.

Zacchaeus wanted to restore things that were wrong - he wanted to correct situations - and in his case it was MONEY. But it can be all kinds of things. Once you are right with God - you want to get right with people - with everyone you can.

This soon becomes the desire of every disciple of Jesus who is filled with the love of Jesus.

Jesus says - "Salvation has come to this house." - a summary of the whole Gospel.

He was now a new man - saved from grabbing money - saved from self-centredness - saved from all his sins and all his sinfulness.

Why does this happen to a man like Zacchaeus - a man who really did not deserve this wonderful love? What made this rascal go out of his way to climb this tree to see Jesus?

Well - we don't really know - but there is a hint. His name means - "pure - a good man - an honest man". I wonder if this told Jesus about his parents who had given him this name. Had they been a godly prayerful couple?

And now Jesus was answering their prayers. It was some name to give a child - or having to live with a name like that knowing what rotten reputation he had.

Did he have this longing in his heart to be a good man - an honest man - different? Did he know that all he was doing was basically wrong? And, did he go to see this Jesus - to see if this Jesus was for real - and could Jesus give any real help?

Verse 10 . The son of man came to seek and to save what was lost. Jesus came to Jericho and found that little lost soul up a tree. Zacchaeus was changed and transformed - only Jesus can do that.

Jericho is one of the few places which is below sea level. Jesus comes from highest heaven - down to such a world as this - down to such a man as this.

He came - He comes - and He continues to come - hear what He says.

“Lord Jesus – even when we try to hide, you see us. Father, thank You for this encounter which Jesus has with Zacchaeus – there is so much to teach us – so much to challenge us – and so much for which we can be thankful. As we seek You, may we find You – let the blessings of the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ fall upon us this day.” Amen.

"Word from Scotland" from Sandy Shaw

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Biography Information:

Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!

Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.

Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.

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