In the world…not of it

One day as He approached Jericho, Jesus met a blind man by the name of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus was crying out “Help me, have mercy!” Jesus turned and said, “Bring Him to me.”
When Bartimaeus came to Jesus, Jesus asked “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus replied “Lord I want to see” and Jesus gave him His sight.
If Bartimaeus hadn’t cried out to Jesus at that moment he might never have received his sight. But he took advantage of that one moment in his life and he didn’t care what other people thought. He cried out “Lord, have mercy on me.”
Is Jesus passing by where you are? Should you be shouting “Lord, help me?”
Jesus went through Jericho. As a crowd gathered around Him there was a short man in the crowd named Zacchaeus. He wanted to see Jesus but he couldn’t see over the heads of the people. So he ran to a Sycamore tree and he climbed up to gain some height.
Zacchaeus was the head of the tax division for Rome in that region. Rome would assign to him how much money they expected him to collect in that region each year. Then if he collected more he could keep it. So of course he collected all that he could and he had become a rich man.
Zacchaeus was up in a Sycamore tree and Jesus was passing by the tree. Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus,” – He called him by name – “Come down out of that tree. I’m going to your house today.” Zacchaeus was surprised and joyful. He climbed down from the tree and he said, “Lord, yes, come to my house.”
The people began to murmur and say, “Look, Jesus has gone to a sinner’s house.” Zacchaeus was curious, He’d heard about Jesus and he wanted to see for himselfwhat this man was all about. He decided to go check for himself. He wasn’t willing to make an opinion on what other people said about Jesus.
Zacchaeus faced many obstacles to get to Jesus. First, there was the crushing crowd – He was a short man.
We too may face obstacles in coming to Jesus. Your obstacle might be pride. You would come to Christ but you are afraid of what people will say. Or you might say, “I was born Christian. I’m a good person. I own a Bible.” Many people have Bibles but don’t read them.
Another obstacle for you might be love of the world – the fast life, not facing reality by turning to drugs, making a quick buck wheeling and dealing. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world,” asked Jesus, “and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
We can enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. I never gave up drugs because I didn’t like it, I gave it up because it was destroying me mentally, physically, and spiritually. We can have pleasure in sin but it is only for a season. Just a short time and it is done and then we are face to face with judgement. We deliberately bring on our own spiritual death by the way that we live. We become absorbed with the things of this world. We need to surrender ourselves to Jesus completely and make our commitment to Him.
We can’t escape being in the world but we don’t have to be of the world. We don’t need to partake of the world’s evil. We don’t need to think the things that we think. We must allow Jesus to renew our minds as well as our actions; garbage in, garbage out. What is the secret sin you don’t want anybody else to know about? Is it dishonesty? Is it cheating? Is it jealousy? Is it lust? The psalmist David prayed, “Lord cleanse me from my secret sins.” What is your secret sin, the thing that you hold onto, the thing that you won’t let go of.
Maybe it is keeping you from knowing the joy and the peace and the satisfaction that Jesus wants to give you. The Bible says that one day the things done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops. Man looks on the outward appearance but God sees the heart.
When Jesus called Zacchaeus down from the tree – it was a personal call. He used Zacchaeus’ name – He said “Zacchaeus, come down. I’m coming to your house.” Jesus calls you and me by name – “Susan, John, Mike, Pete – I’m calling you to make a commitment in your life to me. Will you come? I want to bring new joy and peace and patience. I want to give you the absolute assurance that you are saved and that you are going to heaven.” It is a personal call. God knows everything about you. All through history God has been calling people personally. Jesus said that He is the good shepherd calling his sheep by name.
In Genesis we read that God came to the Garden of Eden personally and called, “Adam, Adam where are you?” God knew where Adam was but he wanted Adam to know where he was, that he was separated from God by sin. And that same sin is passed on from generation to generation until all of us are separated from God. We all need to answer the call of God, who calls us by name and asks us to come to Him truly sorry for the way we’ve hurt Him, others, and ourselves.
Jesus called His disciples by names – Andrew, Peter, James, John. He called a tax collector Matthew. On the Damascus road He called a man by the name of Saul and changed his name to Paul, the greatest preacher in the history of the church.
The call to Zacchaeus was an urgent call because Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come now.” And so Jesus calls to us “Come right now, quickly, don’t wait.” This was Zacchaeus’ golden moment. He had wanted a long time to see this Jesus about whom he’d heard so much. What was he going to do? In spite of all the people looking up at him in that tree Zacchaeus hurried and came down, publicly and immediately.
So Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house an had a meal with him. Zacchaeus said, “Lord, I’m willing to make restitution. If I’ve stolen from people I’ll return four times as much and I will give half of all I have to the poor.” He proved in deed what he said to Jesus in words.
When I cried out to Jesus… He heard my hearts cry.
Jesus hung on the cross for you and me. And when He hung on that cross it wasn’t just the physical suffering that he experienced. It was spiritual suffering too, in that moment God laid on Him the sins of every one of us. Jesus had never committed a sin and yet He became guilty of every sin. Your sins and my sins were put on Him. On that cross Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have yo forsaken me?” because a Holy God could not look upon sin. There is a mystery to what happened on the cross. But yet the cross is the place where our sins were put on Jesus and where we can find forgiveness, peace, and satisfaction.
Are you satisfied with your life? You can find real satisfaction only in Jesus. Maybe you’ve tried to fill the emptiness in your heart with…[you fill in the blank] but only Jesus will fill your empty heart.
There were two best friends: one a judge and one a businessman. One day the businessman got caught and charged with fraud, a really large amount of money, and when it came through the courts his best friend sat as the judge.
After the case was presented the gavel came down and the judge passed the toughest sentence ever – a $1 000 000 fine. Then he stepped down from the podium and took off his judge’s robes and came over to his businessman friend and said, “Friend – I have sold my house and all I own, and have paid your fine.” This is what Jesus did for us – the judge has paid the price for our sins.
Zacchaeus showed his faith by his works. We need to demonstrate that we’ve surrendered to Jesus: talk the talk, walk the walk. Jesus calls us by name. Jesus is knocking on your hearts’ door. He said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to Him.”
Will you invite Jesus in? He is knocking, He is calling you, He knows you by name. He wants to change your life, He wants you to head in a new direction. Talk to Him.What do you have to lose?