Text: Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 19:1-10 Speaker: Pastor Matthew Ude Festival: Advent Passages: Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 19:1-10
Full Service Video - Part Two
Full Service Video - Part One
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon1 his shoulder,
and his name shall be called2
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Jesus and Zacchaeus (Listen)
19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The sign of a true master, someone who is really good at their profession, is that they make it look easy. A really good mechanic can hoist your car up fix it and have you back on the road in an hour and your left thinking why did I pay him to do that I could do that.
I remember probably ten years ago now a link to a website that everyone kept emailing around. If you had no experience with websites you would have looked at and thought it was ordinary enough, but those with experience practically salivated over how well it was done.
The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus is in many ways unremarkable. There is no miracle, no great parable, no amazing teaching. Yet when you look a little closer you can see how Jesus took something incredibly difficult and made it look super easy.
Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor, who knows exactly what it is that Zacchaeus needs and with a single phrase is able to turn Zacchaeus from a selfish, lying, thief into a true disciple with a heart of love that willingly gives to those who have need.
- Jesus knows our problem
Jesus is the wonderful counselor because He knows exactly what we need and is willing to reach out and fix our broken and sin filled hearts and lives. The Pharisees call Zachaeus a sinner but they didn’t really know what they were talking about. It is Jesus who really understood the depth of Zacchaeus’ sin, yet Jesus is the one who reaches out to heal and fix.
We might confess that we are sinners, but we don’t really understand or appreciate the full depths of that sinfulness. Jesus knows how sinful we really are, but instead of looking down his nose, avoiding, or giving us up as a lost cause, he comes to stay in our home and heart. He comes to heal and fix. He comes to save the lost.
- Jesus knows us intimately
The one miracle that Jesus does do, is that he instantly knows Zacchaeus by name. This is a wonderfully comforting truth. Jesus knows each and every one of us by name and calls us. He doesn’t just group us altogether, he deals with us as individuals. He knows when we need a little encouragement, or a little discipline. It’s always the children’s songs that are the best. I am Jesus little lamb, calls me every day the same, even knows me by my name
- Jesus has the power to fix our problems
With a single short phrase Jesus completely changed Zacchaeus’ heart. That took power, power that can come only from God.
Early this week I went out to put Vanessa’s Buick in the garage. I didn’t want it sitting outside in the snow. Of course it wouldn’t start. So I tried to push it. That worked for a bit but then when the drive way slanted up and with the icy driveway I had to get Vanessa to come help me. We pushed and pushed and got it right up to the garage. Then the garage floor was just a quarter of inch above the driveway, and the car wasn’t going to go over that little bump with our strength. Eventually I backed the Subaru up and tied the Subaru tow hitch to the Buick tow hitch.
You could of course look at the outward words and circumstances. You could talk about how Jesus showed love and mercy to a man who expected no such thing. You could talk about the power of forgiveness. But the truth of the matter is there is something far beyond anything we can see. There is power in Christ to take a broken twisted heart and fix it. He has power to take a broken sinful hate filled man and teach him love. True love, the kind of love that goes out and gives back all the money that he stole.
“A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens is a lie. As much as I appreciate the story, especially when the Muppets do it, the fact is that even if such a thing were possible it wouldn’t change Scrooges heart. But Christ can.
Christ has power that we simply don’t, just as my Subaru has power that I simply don’t have.
How many pastors, therapists, and counselors wouldn’t love to have that power. To have the insight, and the power to change the heart. There is a reason that we don’t have this power. Christ knows we would use it to turn people into what we think they should be. We would take sinners and make them worse.
So God took that power and hid it in the preaching of the Gospel. There in the preaching of the Gospel Christ comes to visit each of us in home and in our hearts. He fixes our problems. He is our wonderful counselor.