What is hospitality, and how can we be hospitable in the name of Jesus today? Is table fellowship helpful today? This is a new look, for me, at the story of Zacchaeus.
A. I don’t know if you saw the movie “Inside Out,” but it is about the emotions of a young girl. Emotions like joy and sadness, anger and fear are all a part of life. But when you think about your emotions we often concentrate on the positive. But what about the negative feelings? How many people suffer from the feeling loneliness?
B. Robin Williams is reported to have said, “I used to thing
the worst think in life was to end up all alone, it is not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”
C. I want to take you to a story that might help you to think about others a little differently. A story that kids sing about and many adults know about. The story that was just read to you of Zacchaeus.
I. The Person Zacchaeus
A. I love when the Bible makes a statement that makes you smile. Our text opens up by saying, (Read verse 1) “[Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through.” Absolutely true, but the story tells me that Jesus doesn’t do anything, even traveling without a reason. The next verse we meet reason Jesus was passing through. (Read Verses 2-4)
B. Now we all understand people that are unlikeable. Some people have personalities that simply grate on you and everyone they seem to come in contact with. I don’t know the personality of Zacchaeus, but I know the reception he received from his fellow residents in Jericho.
C. But here is the challenge, how you treat people that you have personal issues with? Let me ask you to think about God’s view of people for just a moment. God teaches through Paul a principle in Phil 2:3-4. Stop and think. Do these verses only apply to people you like? If Zacchaeus was your neighbor in Jericho 2000 years ago, how would you treat him? Most of us, just like those people. But not Jesus.
A. Read verse 5-6. How did Jesus make a difference in the lives of people? The answer: He got involved with the lives of people. Many of those people would be considered strangers, people Jesus did not have a deep personal connection with. So what does that mean to you and me?
B. Think about the word “hospitality.” When Paul describes the character of a Christian he tells the Romans (READ Rom. 12:10-13) and the Hebrew writer says a very similar statement in Heb. 13:1-2.
C. The very heart of hospitality is showing kindness to stranger, especially table fellowship. When you think about the Lord’s Supper, Jesus is showing hospitality to you and me. Jesus invites us to come to the table, to eat with him, to be in fellowship with him. Jesus shows us hospitality because of his love, not because we deserve anything.
D. I would guess the primary symbol within most churches today is the pulpit, but I believe that in the first century it would be Lord’s Table. It is interesting to me that the one thing the Bible tells us to do every time we come together as a church was to eat and drink. The fellowship that happens around the Lord’s Table is an example of God’s hospitality and our relationship with one another. We partner in faith because He partnered with us.
D. Let the Bible complete the following sentence. The Son of Man came… “not to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) “to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10). But listen to this last one because it is not where our minds generally go. READ Luke 7:33-35.
E. Jesus went to the home of man no one in Jericho liked. A man they believed Jesus should not like. Their reaction to Jesus (READ Luke 19:7).
III. Evangelist Hospitality
A. Many scholars believe that Jesus went to the house of Zacchaeus at the end of verse 7. What they talked about in that house and what happened there, we don’t know. But we do know the effect of meal. READ Luke 19:8-10.
B. While by definition Zacchaeus showed Jesus hospitality, the story still makes Jesus the host. It was the idea of Jesus to go to the house and the outcome came from whatever Jesus said to him in the house.
C. When you bless someone with table fellowship lives are lifted up. It is great when you take someone out to eat or have them in or home. The point is being together, talking, sharing, listening, places value on the other person and lives are touched for the glory of God.
A. Hospitality is showing kindness to another, not because they deserve it, but because they need it. It is extending your heart to a person who may feel alone in the crowd. It is extending your love for the person who doesn’t feel loved. It is be Jesus to the person who may still be struggling in sin.
B. To that lukewarm church of Laodicea Jesus would say (Rev. 3:20). I believe that same invitation by Jesus is extended to you also. Will you open the door of your heart to let the Savior in? Will you respond to his knocking and have fellowship, hospitality with Jesus? If we can help you to be in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, then come as we stand and sing.