Texts: Habakkuk 1:1-4 and Psalm 119:137-144 or Isaiah 1:10-18 and Psalm 32:1-7; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11’-12; Luke 19:1-10
Music: “Our Great Savior,” “In This Very Room,” “Jesus Calls Us,” “O For a Closer Walk With God,” “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”
Message “Mr. Z: the Man Who Wanted Everything”
What happened in this provocative encounter of Zacchaeus with Jesus is summarized by Luke in what the different people said about it.
First of all, with what the people said: “And when they saw it they all murmured, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’”
This is often the response of the people to something new and unexpected! And it points out the natural separation of “insiders” and “outsiders” which exists in most congregations, regardless who the outsiders are.
Secondly, what Zacchaeus himself said: “And Zacchaeus stood as if to give a speech and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything I restore it fourfold.’”
It is interesting that after meeting Jesus he doesn’t talk about his own wonderful salvation, but moves right into practical implications of his new life, even when it involves something as costly as restitution. It’s not what he says that Luke reports, but what he did!
Finally, what Jesus said: “And Jesus said to him ‘Today salvation has come to his house.’” By considering what Jesus said we learn that no matter who we are and what we’ve done, and what other people think about us, we can live in relationship with God again. We can live with people harmoniously again and we can be restored to fellowship with God again, too. And last, but not least, we are at peace with ourselves when we are at peace with God and others.
Call to Worship
Leader: We will worship God with voices.
People: We will worship God with instruments.
Leader: We will worship God with prayers.
People: We will worship God with minds.
Leader: We will worship God with time.
People: We will worship God with talents.
Leader: We will worship God with offerings.
People: WITH ALL THAT WE HAVE AND WITH ALL THAT WE ARE, WE WILL WORSHIP GOD.
It is our prayer that through this experience of worship, all things will indeed become new. We seek, as did Zacchaeus, a new hope, a new vision, a new challenge, and a new perspective on life.
Prayer of Confession
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from the heaven, and see; have regard for this vine. Give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.—Psalm 80:3, 14, 18b, 19
Words of Assurance
Upon God rests our deliverance and our honor. God is our mighty rock, our refuge. We will trust in the LORD at all times, and we will pour out our hearts before him. –Adapted from Psalm 62:7-8
Prayer of Thanks
O God, we thank you that our relationship with you is not dependent upon how hard we try, or how much we do, but on your pure, unmerited favor. And it is that grace upon grace that inspires us to “pass it on” to others, whose lives can be changed as ours has been. Help us to do that with humility and integrity every day of our lives. Amen
We remember that Zacchaeus, after meeting with Jesus, said, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much” (Luke 19:8)
Remembering the example of Zacchaeus, we pray that as we walk with Jesus, our attitude toward money will be transformed—both in how we get it and how we use it.
May God the Father watch above you. May God the Son walk beside you. And May God the Holy Spirit live within you.
(Prayers and other worship items courtesy of Leroy Koopman @ Liturgical Publications. Subscribers are permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction is prohibited. 2013 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WE 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 ext. 2469)