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« How Can the Sword of the Lord Be Quiet? | Main | One for the World »

Can Jesus Come to Your House?

Luke 19:1-10 “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”


This may be the most ridiculous-sounding story in the Bible. It’s one of those stories, however, that makes you know that the Bible is true because you can’t make this stuff up.

I wish I had the time to share all the testimonies in this room with you. I could tell you of things you think are unbelievable. I could tell you of drunks sobered, of addicts cleaned, of immoral lives who have become saints. I could tell you of cancers eliminated, of migraines gone, of families healed and of depression cured. People are not here just because they are “church-type” people. Many were not born into this. They are here because they have an experience with God. They are here because they found something that put meaning into their lives.

The reputation of Jesus was widespread and Zacchaeus, like many of the common folk, wanted to see him. We are not told exactly why. Just curious? Was he fascinated with the character of Jesus? Was he an adoring fan?

It would be extremely interesting to me to know exactly why each person is here today. I’ve thought about writing an article on “The Anatomy of a Visitor.” Was it a push or a pull? Was it a friend or a foe? Was it a “have-to” or a habit? Was it for show or was it spiritual hunger? Even more interesting to me is the answer to this question: Was it a random event or a date with destiny? Are you here today because somewhere in the eternal heavens God dipped his pen in blood and is preparing to write your name down in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

Some people show up to see. Others show up to be seen. One thing was certain: he was not satisfied with hearing about Jesus. The Pharisees said he was a blasphemer. The Sadducees said he was a fraud. The scribes and lawyers said he was an opportunist. The politicians from Rome said he was a trouble-maker. But the blind man said he was a healer. The Centurion said he raised the dead. A crowd of people said he multiplied loaves and fishes and fed five thousand people.

God only knows what you may have heard people say about Pentecost, especially those Apostolic people! There are probably no more exaggerated stories told that get repeated over and over about these “Spirit-filled” fanatics. We swing from the chandeliers, run on the backs of the pews, cast spells on people and force people to speak in tongues. We have footprints on the walls and some people bring their sneakers to church so they can run faster than the others! We keep little boxes of snakes under the pulpit for those who really have a lot of faith. We’ve been accused of mass psychology, crowd manipulation, stretching the Bible out of shape, spiritual abuse and cultism. If you go by what you hear, you’ll never get anywhere close to the truth. You need to find out for yourself. You need to know the joy of repentance; you need to feel the cleanness of your sins remitted in the waters of baptism in Jesus’ name; you need to know for yourself what the gift of the Holy Ghost is all about!

Zacchaeus had a problem. He was a small man and could not see over the heads of people. He could have dismissed the opportunity to see Jesus from the get-go. It’s not use. I’ll never get to see him. Forget it. Plus, his problem was permanent. He wasn’t going to get any taller. He was forever stuck in the vertically challenged world.

So, you have a problem. Welcome to the real world! You ought to thank God for your problem. If you didn’t have a problem, you wouldn’t be here. Your problem can be the reason you seek Jesus; not the reason you can’t seek Jesus! But, Pastor, I have a drug problem, a drinking problem, a marriage problem, a family problem, a job problem, a health problem, an education problem, a disability problem, an emotional problem, a personality problem. You are welcome here! This is the Problem Place!

Zacchaeus was a resourceful man. He anticipated the problem (he had ran into it before) and so before the crowd could get there, he ran and climbed up a sycamore tree. Contrast this with the woman with an issue of blood who had to elbow her way through the crowd. She was desperate and knew that Jesus could heal her. Zacchaeus had only come to check things out. At least, that what all appearances tell us.

I know the type. You want to appear unruffled, cool, non-emotional. You want to give the impression that you have everything under control. You may be like the philosophers of Athens who said among themselves, “We want to hear what you have to say. We’re interested in many points of view.” Well, if you out collecting points of view, all you’re going to have in the end is a collection of viewpoints. What you truly need is salvation, deliverance, an experience with God that will surpass all of your viewpoints. But, beneath your calm exterior, you can barely keep it all together. You deal with confusion, despair, anger and bitterness. It’s a crisis-a-day and a crack-up a week. There’s a hidden why you are sitting on a church pew this morning, just like Zacchaeus was perched on a sycamore limb. You look with longing eyes for help, but you hide it behind a face of steel. You really are desperate to see Jesus today.

Here is something that Zacchaeus had not anticipated. He came to see Jesus. But the scripture deals us a curve ball. “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him.” This is the irony of it all. The rich man became poor. The adult became the child. The seeker became the one sought after! Zacchaeus came looking for Jesus. What he discovered was that Jesus had come looking for Zacchaeus! It was as though the only reason why Jesus came to Jericho was to look up into a sycamore tree to seek the seeker.


Something Got a Hold of Me

by Hank Williams Sr.



At first when I heard of some people who claim

That the old-time religion was real

I said I’ll go down take a look at the crowd

For just that weak minded I feel


I walked up the steps and I peeked in the door

But the Devil said don’t you go in

But I said It won’t hurt me I’ll just step inside

And set as far back as I can


But something got a hold of me Praise God

Yes something got a hold Of me

I went there to fight but I’ll tell you that night

God certainly got a hold of me


They sang like they meant it they all clapped their hands

I said it’s commotion that’s all

When they get down to pray I’ll just get up and leave

For I don’t wanna be seen here at all


But I bowed that time he got started to preach

And He looked right straight down at me

He told everybody how mean that I was

He didn’t talk like He thought much of me


I sat in my seat just thinking it over

And then they all started to pray

The fire fell from Heaven I knelt to the floor

I prayed there and God had His way


And now then I know I don’t need to doubt

For I got an experience that night

I’ll never forget it as long as I live

I found that salvation was right.



The most amazing thing happened.

The host became the guest. Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus’ house, and Zaccheus received Him joyfully.

You’ve experienced a lot of things in your life, but true joy is not one of them. Occasional fun, some good times, but a deep and sustainable feeling of joy that stretches out into eternity is not a part of your life. Yet, here is what the Bible says in Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

The joy of the Lord creates impossible situations. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-2, we read, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

Joy is one of the key themes in the Gospel of Luke, and the word is found over twenty times in one form or another. Salvation produces joy—not in the circumstances, not superficially, not temporarily—but in the believer’s heart!

The final verse of the text today is “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The story is told of a mother and father and three year old boy who went to Chicago for their annual Christmas shopping trip with Grandma and Grandpa. It’s the old story of I thought you had him and I thought you had him. But the little boy was lost. You can imagine the panic the parents felt as they started running through the mall shouting out his name and looking everywhere for him. The stories they had heard of a huge place like Chicago and the twisted people who come to the shopping malls looking for a little boy ran through their minds. Then they looked up and here comes Grandpa holding the little boy by the hand. He didn’t know he was lost.

“Where did you find him?” his parents said as they grabbed him and hugged him.

“By the candy counter. I figured that’s where he probably was.”

Jesus wanted to do more than spy Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree. He wanted to do more than exchange pleasant greetings with him. Zacchaeus needed more than just a pat on the back or a thumbs up. Jesus sought out this man because he wanted to rearrange his life forever. He wanted to make a permanent impression on him. The only way he could do that was to come to his dwelling place and abide with him. Shaking hands with the Master wouldn’t have cost him much, but neither would it have impacted Zacchaeus much. It was when he took Jesus home with him that he discovered what forgiveness was all about. It was when he took Jesus home with him that he had the power to make right decisions in his life. Had he seen Jesus in the crowd but returned to the same old mess at home, nothing would have changed.

You need to take Jesus home with you today.

My father was a seventeen-year old kid in the Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis, Indiana when Sister Leona Spillman opened up a little church on 28th and Sherman. He stood in the parking lot of a gas station across the street from the church and listened to the singing. He and his brothers liked to sing and they were good at it. But something else began to happen as the music reached out to the opposite corner that night. He went there, just close enough to hear but not close enough to get involved and enjoyed the music. Was it his love for music? Was it the magnetic power of a group of sincere people? Was it Jesus who came to seek and to save that which was lost? Did he know that the power of the Holy Ghost could move through the notes and sounds of gospel singing? Whatever it was, he flipped his cigarette into a mud puddle—he had been smoking since he was six years old—and walked across the street into the little white building. Victor, Paul and Kenny, three out of nine boys and one girl, ended up at the altar. God miraculously changed their lives. Out of that church came scores of preachers and missionaries, evangelists and musicians, all because of a little woman who came to a neighborhood to start a church.

The seeker may not be you, today. The seeker may be Christ. What great work, what significant change, what precious soul, what great revival, what call may the Lord Jesus Christ have in mind for you? Can Jesus come to your house today?

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