John 1:14b & 16-18 - Fullness of Grace Part II

(The below is inspired by and adapted from “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes”.)

We will examine this story and uncover the role grace played as it unfolded.
• You need to familiarize yourself with Part I of this lesson first.
• It is there that we define Grace and here where we see it in action.

Verse 1
• Jesus was passing through on His way to Jerusalem.
• The town would have expected a chance to show him some hospitality.
• They had already demonstrated their desire to do so via the act of going out of town to greet him.
• But Jesus had made clear (He kept walking) that he was not going to stop.

Verse 2
• Zacchaeus was a tax collector; somehow he had acquired the rights to collect taxes for Rome.
• Rome would have told him exactly the tax to turn over, the rest he could keep.
• Since only Rome and the tax collector knew how much tax was required, the system was ripe for greed and corruption on the part of the tax collector.
• Because of this corruption tax collectors were considered unclean and were despised.
• They were seen as Gentile collaborators.
• They were oppressors as compared to the oppressed that Jesus had just healed a few verses earlier.

With the 1st 2 verses, the scene has been set for Jesus’ grace to have its way.

Verse 3
• Zacchaeus for some reason had a desire to see Jesus.
• The crowd became an obstacle to this because he could not see over them.
• Had he been a respected rich man in Jericho, the crowd would have made way for him.
• But, because he was hated, he knew there was no way they would let him through to the front where he could see.
• Plus, to be a hated man in a crowd is not the safest place to be.

What drew Zacchaeus to want to see Jesus?
• Grace empowers our will

Verse 4
• Zacchaeus’ solution was to do two things that a rich Middle Eastern man would never do so that he could see Jesus.
• First, he ran in public (a humiliating act).
• And then he climbed a tree (also a humiliating act).
• A sycamore tree is very bushy; many believe Zacchaeus climbed it to hide and thus avoid being seen and humiliated.

Why would Zacchaeus risk humiliation?
• Grace empowers our will

Verse 5
• Zacchaeus was busted and the hated, rich, unclean tax collector was humiliated in front of everybody.
• Jesus, and probably others as well, saw him, and Jesus called him down.
• No doubt the crowd was waiting for Jesus to heap it on this defiled, Gentile collaborator.
• But Jesus does that which is “both unthinkable and unprecedented”; He invites Himself to the traitor’s house.
• Especially in the Middle East, “the community selects the form of hospitality, not the guest”.
• Jesus, however, insulted the town by both in inviting Himself and in inviting Himself to a tax collectors house.
• As a result, Jesus shifts the ire of the crowd from a humiliated Zacchaeus to Himself!
• Isaiah 53:5 – “by his wounds we are healed”.

Why did Jesus say he must go to Zacchaeus’?
• Grace empowers His choosing
Why did Jesus shift the ire of the crowd to himself – a costly act on His part?
• Grace led the lamb to the slaughter

Verse 6
• Having been “accepted” by Jesus, Zacchaeus accepts Jesus invitation and accepts Jesus joyfully.

How was Zacchaeus able to receive Jesus joyfully in the midst of his humiliation?
• Grace empowers repentance and salvation

Verse 7
• Jesus entered Zacchaeus’ house, a place of defilement in the eyes of the town.
• What kind of Messiah would defile Himself in such a way?

Why did Jesus “defile” Himself on account of Zacchaeus?
• Grace led the lamb to the slaughter

Verse 8
• Zacchaeus freely makes a gesture to give away 50% of his assests.
• And on top of that says “he will pay back fourfold anyone he has cheated”.
• If he owes out just 13% of the 50% he has left, he will be unable to pay back everybody.
• Here Zacchaeus is exaggerating and in the Middle East, to exaggerate is to demonstrate sincerity.
• “If he does not exaggerate, the crowd will think he means the opposite”.
• Zacchaeus is showing the fruit of repentance.

How was Zacchaeus able to let go of what he held so dear?
• Grace empowers a sanctified Christian life

Verse 9
• Jesus says “salvation has come” both confirming the spiritual state of Zacchaeus and that it was He, Christ, that brought it.
• He calls Zacchaeus a “son of Abraham”.

Why could Jesus say that “salvation has come”?
• Grace empowers salvation and Zacchaeus had responded by faith to the grace offered to him.

So in this story, we have a beautiful display of how the grace of God brings salvation.
• By Grace it is planned by the Father (Jesus came to Jericho and Zacchaeus wanting to see Him)
• Through grace it is procured by the Son (Jesus calling Zacchaeus to Himself and taking the crowd’s ire on Himself)
• With grace it is applied by the Spirit (fruits of repentance and sanctification).

Ring Composition of Luke 19:1-9:
It reveals the emphasis of the story on Christ's grace in verse 5.

• JESUS ENTERS (vs. 1)
    o ZACCHAEUS (vs. 2)
        - THE CROWD (vs. 3)
            • THE TREE – RAN & WENT UP IT (vs. 4)
                o JESUS’ GRACE (vs. 5)
            • THE TREE – CALLED BY JESUS & CAME DOWN (vs. 6)
       - THE CROWD (vs. 7)
    o ZACCHAEUS (vs. 8)
• JESUS SPEAKS (vs. 9)