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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
April 22, 2018
The Impossible Salvation of a Rich Tax-Collector
At the beginning of this past March, I preached through the texts describing Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-27; Luke 18:18-27). If you were here or are familiar with the story, you will recall that a young man that was rich and had already gained great respect in his community so that he had become a ruler in the local synagogue, came up in a very humble manner and asked Jesus, “What good thing shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
That is the kind of question any modern evangelist would love to hear, and I am sure most would quickly have had the fellow praying the sinner’s prayer or something similar in order to claim they got another person saved. Jesus did not do that because salvation from sin is dependent upon a correct faith in God’s provision to forgive. What is believed is crucial, so Jesus began by pointing the man back to the law to determine if he understood his sin and need of forgiveness. Just because someone wants to go to heaven does not mean they understand that it is their own sin that prevents that and puts them under God’s condemnation.
It is hard to keep track of the 600+ specific laws in the Torah, so he wanted Jesus to narrow it down to the essential ones. Jesus listed out several from the Ten Commandments plus the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” from Leviticus 19:18. There was plenty there to bring conviction about the failure to keep them, but the man turned out to be self-righteous and claimed “All these things I have kept from my youth.” Jesus was usually very resistant to the self-righteous, but perhaps because the man still recognized something was missing and asked, “what am I still lacking?” Jesus felt a love for him and gave him another opportunity. Having claimed to love his neighbor as himself, Jesus challenges him to put that into action saying, “if you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Neither keeping the commandments nor this challenge are offers by Jesus of a means for the man to save himself by his works. Jesus was simply exposing the man’s sin so that the man would repent and demonstrate its fruit. The offer of salvation was in the invitation to follow Him.
Tragically, the man went away grieved for he owned much property and was unwilling to trade in the riches of this world for treasures in heaven. Jesus then commented about this to His disciples saying, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” He then followed this up with an illustration that it was not just hard, it was impossible. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” This astonished the disciples who held to the common belief that it was easier for the rich to enter heaven, and so they asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus answered them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (See: How To Obtain Eternal Life)
The text we will be examining this morning in Luke 19 is the contrast to this for it recounts the story of a rich man that was saved. What is impossible for men, is possible for God, and this is a story of God doing the impossible.
Jericho – Luke 19:1
Our text begins, “He entered Jericho and was passing through.” I pointed out last week that there were two areas of Jericho. The older area had built up around the spring near the ancient city that Joshua had destroyed in the initial conquest of the land about 1405 BC. A second area had built up about 2 miles SW near where Herod had built his winter palace spanning the Wadi Qelt. Jesus had healed Bartimaeus and the other blind man somewhere between the old and the new Jericho. (See: Sight for the Blind)
Jericho has a tropical climate and because of the springs and wadis in the area which were used to irrigate the fertile soil, it was a rich agricultural area. It was also known as the “city of palms” and it is still famous for its dates. At the time of Jesus, it also had extensive balsam groves, which Josephus describes as “the most precious of all local products.” Several different species of plants have been referred to as “balsam” and grown. The sap of Comminphora opobalsamum was used to make medicines for relief of eye diseases and headaches. It was also used for making perfumes. The sap of Balsamodendron myrrha, commonly referred to as Myrrh, was used to produce perfume, medicine, anointing oil and embalming compounds. The sap of related species such as Balsamodendron gileadense were also used to produce medicines. This is the “balm in Gilead” that Jeremiah 8:22; 46:11 refers to and it relationship to physicians and medicine.
This type of agriculture and its related industries made Jericho a wealthy area. Added to this wealth was being on trade routes going both north-south and east-west. It also helped that Herod’s winter palace was at that location so that were was a lot of governmental activity. All of these combined to make it a very lucrative area for a particular tax collector that Jesus meets as He is going through Jericho.
Zaccheus, The Tax Collector – Luke 19:2
“And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich.” Given his location and occupation, it is not surprising that this man is rich. This was a good spot for a tax man. The practices of tax collectors usually did make them wealthy, but Zaccheus’ position as “chief tax-collector” (ajrcitelqnhV/ architel n s) was even more lucrative. This is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament, but the meaning of the words that make up this compound term give us a good idea of its meaning. Zaccheus is some sort of ruler over or head of tax-gatherers. Whether he worked for someone else and had additional people under him or actually held the tax franchise for that area is unknown. Either way, it meant he was receiving more than just from what he personally collected in taxes.
You would be hard pressed to find people that like to pay taxes. Most people do not like to pay them and by extension often do not like those that collect them. Or to put it another way, working for the IRS will not make you popular in the general population. The disdain for tax collectors at that time and place was made worse by two additional factors. First, they were collecting taxes for a foreign and oppressive government. It is bad enough to have the money you have earned taken away from you and squandered by the government of your own country, but it is much worse when those taxes are sent to increase the wealth of a government that has conquered you and is oppressing you. Zaccheus and those working under him were collecting money for the Roman government. While some of it was used for public works that might benefit you such as construction of roads and aqueducts, most of it went to support the lavish lifestyles of government officials, pay the wages of the soldiers oppressing you, and the rest sent to increase the wealth of Rome itself. The nearby winter palace of Herod covering about 7 acres (the size of the lot this church sits on) was an example of the lavish lifestyles of government officials. How would you feel about it if you were in that situation and your tax money was being sent to Russia or China? How would you feel about your neighbor who was working for them to collect those taxes? That is why the general population considered their fellow Jews who were collecting taxes for Rome to be traitors and had contempt for them.
Another factor adding to this scorn for tax collectors is the manner in which they were becoming rich by collecting taxes. Tax collectors did not become rich because of being paid an extravagant wage. Their wealth was built on being able to keep whatever they collected above and beyond the amount required by Rome and the local rulers. Rome required a certain amount of tribute from the nations they had conquered to be collected by their puppet rulers. These puppet rulers would sell to the highest bidder the franchise for collecting taxes over a particular area. The holder of that tax franchise was allowed to keep anything above and beyond the amount needed to be paid to Rome’s puppet ruler.
Zaccheus’ was rich because he was able to profit from the taxes being collected by himself and those under him (See Luke 3:12-13). And there was a lot of different taxes for them to collect. A poll tax was collected on everyone including slaves. There was also an income tax, a land tax, and all sorts of uses and service taxes if you used a public road, crossed a bridge, transported something, sent a letter, and whatever else the tax collector might develop.
Tax collectors could become wealthy, but at the expense of being ostracized by Jewish society. The social circles Zaccheus would have traveled in consisted of other publicans, sinners and others excluded from Jewish society. His wealth came at a high cost. The strange thing about Zaccheus is that the meaning of his name is “pure.”
Zaccheus, Curious & Determined – Luke 19:3-4
In verses 3-4 we discover that Zaccheus is both curious and determined. “Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.”
This is an easy scene to imagine. There is a large crowd accompanying Jesus with additional people who heard Jesus would be passing gathering to see Him. The same kind of thing easily happens in any population center when it is discovered that someone important or famous will be traveling through. Zaccheus is as curious as the next person. He has heard about Jesus and he would like to get a look at him too, however, he has two problems. First, because he is short, he can’t see past the other people and get a view of what was happening. Second, because he is a tax collector, no one is going to show him any kindness and let him stand in front of them. They would be much more likely to purposely try and block his view. They would not even want him near them.
But Zaccheus is both innovative and determined. He would not be a successful tax collector if he was not, for people have a natural aversion to paying taxes, so he would have to figure out ways to collect despite their efforts to avoid him. He figures out the likely route of Jesus and runs ahead and climbs up a sycamore tree in order to get a look. Don’t think of this as either the American sycamore, Plantus occidentalis, or California sycamore, Plantanus racemosa, both of which can grow to 60-100 feet, and have a scaly bark that sheds off. The first branches of a mature tree are usually high, so they are not easy trees to climb. This would be a sycamore fig tree, ficus sycomorus or related species, which can grow to 50 feet, but has large, strong branches growing out from the trunk low down and therefore easy to climb. They have a small fruit that looks like a fig, but its taste is relatively unpleasant. They are common to Jericho and that region.
It is not dignified for men to climb trees like they were boys, and even more so for a man as wealthy as Zaccheus. But Zaccheus is curious and determined to see Jesus and will not let some loss of dignity prevent him from accomplishing his purpose. Besides, as a tax collector, he would have to be indifferent to the general population about the acceptability of his actions anyway. He climbs the tree and is now in a good position where no one can block his view of seeing Jesus when He passes by. However, when Jesus arrives to where Zaccheus is looking down at Him from the tree, something very unexpected happens.
Jesus, Omniscient & Gracious – Luke 19:5-6
5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.
It is hard to express how surprising this would be. First, there is a large crowd traveling with Jesus and there is a multitude of people lining the street to see Him. So the first surprise is that Jesus would even notice Zaccheus. Second, Jesus not only notices him and stops to look up at him, but Jesus knows Zaccheus’ name and addresses him by it. Third, it follows that if Jesus’ knows Zaccheus’ name, then He would also know Zaccheus’ occupation. It would be a surprise that He would pay attention to such a tax collector. Fourth, related to that, it is an even greater surprise that Jesus would command Zaccheus to come down and prepare to receive Him as a guest. The people watching were surprised Jesus would go to the house of tax-collector. In addition, this passage was introduced that Jesus “was passing through” Jericho, but now He states that He “must stay” at Zaccheus’ house. I think this may be the only case of Jesus inviting Himself to someone’s home, and He does so in strong language. The word translated as “must” is often used by Luke to express necessity, and used by Jesus to express something divinely required (Luke 2:49; 4:43; 9:22; 13:33; 17:25; 19:5; 21:9; 22:37; 24:7,44). This was not something that would be optional.
All of these things together demonstrate Jesus’ deity in both His omniscience in knowing Zaccheus’ identity, but also His sovereignty in directing what would occur. Jesus had not met Zaccheus before and He had no earthly authority to tell Zaccheus what he must do.
Zaccheus was a ruler or leader over other tax collectors. That was a position of power in itself, but he was also wealthy that therefore someone used to giving commands instead of receiving them. As a tax collector, he would not have been someone that cared much about what other people thought of him. But this was a divine appointment which had its immediate effect. Zaccheus did what Jesus said and hurried down from the tree and received Jesus gladly. This carries the idea of not only rejoicing to meeting Jesus personally, but also happily preparing for Jesus to come to his home. Considering the particular word used here, the time of day it would have been to get to Jericho from Perea, and the distance still to go to Jerusalem, this probably includes staying there through the night and not just eating there.
The Crowd, Self-Righteous & Cold-Hearted – Luke 19:7
Not everyone present was happy about what was happening. Verse 7 records the response of the crowd. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
In one sense, this is understandable since Zaccheus would have been held in contempt by the Jews of Jericho that had their money and goods taken from them by Zaccheus when he was collecting taxes. Those in the crowd were also curious about Jesus and would have liked Him to pay attention to them, so there would have been some natural jealousy. But more at the heart of this reaction was recoiling at even the idea of Jesus giving such an honor to Zaccheus instead of to someone else in Jericho more worthy of it. Zaccheus was a despised publican, a confirmed sinner, and they felt should be treated as such. What was a righteous man, a teacher, a prophet doing going to be the guest of such a sinner?
They were grumbling, (diagogguvzw / diegonguz ), a word describing muttering and murmuring in expressing discontent about a situation. They were not saying anything openly to Jesus, but they were talking quietly among themselves about what Jesus was doing and they were not happy about it.
Grumbling is a characteristic of the discontent and ungodly. Be very careful about it yourself. It was a major reason the children of Israel were so often chastened by God during the wilderness wanderings recorded in Exodus and Numbers. Paul even warns in 1 Corinthians 10:7-10 not to be like them including grumbling for which some of them were destroyed by the destroyer. Paul expresses in Philippians 2:14-15 that not grumbling or disputing is evidence of being “blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”
Their grumbling, like all grumbling at what God does, arises from selfishness compounded by near-sightedness. It is difficult for man to see the world from God’s perspective, but that is exactly what must be done if we are to understand what He is doing. From a religious perspective, Zaccheus is much too much entrenched in sin for redemption. His chosen vocation and lifestyle are those of someone whose heart is set on the world. But Jesus is a worker of miracles, and that includes transforming human hearts.
Zaccheus, Repentant & Genuine – Luke 19:8
Our text does not tell us of all the other things that Jesus must have said to Zaccheus. It does not even give us a clear indication of when what happens next actually takes place. It could have been on the way to Zaccheus’ home or sometime later, but verse 8 reveals an extraordinary change in him. 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”
Whatever Zaccheus was doing at that moment, he stopped. He remained in place and did not go farther or do anything more until he expressed his conviction and determined actions of correction. The impression from this very condensed recounting of what happened is that this occurred suddenly without anything prodding it. Again, we do not know what Jesus said to him prior to this or even how long Jesus may have been talking with him before this happened. We also do not know what Zaccheus knew about Jesus and what He taught other than he knew enough to be very curious and determined to be able to at least get a glance at Jesus with his own eyes. What we do know from what Zaccheus says and does is that he at least has a basic understanding of the Mosaic law and its requirements of those who steal or defraud others.
What Zaccheus says and does is a very great and radical change demonstrating the fruit of true repentance. It is set in contrast to the grumbling crowd, and it is also completely the opposite of the reaction of the rich young ruler who wanted to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life but left grieved and without it. Nothing indicates Zaccheus was seeking eternal life, but that is what he gains.
Jesus challenged the rich young ruler to put his claim to keeping the law into practice and show his love for his neighbor by giving away his wealth and following Him. The man refused to do so loving his wealth more than Christ and eternal life. We are not told Jesus challenges Zaccheus in any similar way, and this was a man very well aware that he did not keep the Mosaic law. He would have agreed with the assessment of the crowd that he was a sinner. Yet, he freely commits himself to give away half of his wealth immediately. The correct translation here is “I give” (NKJV) since the verb is present tense and not a future tense, “I will give.” It is something he begins to do then and not something to be done in the undefined future.
Why doesn’t he give all of it away? Because he also commits himself to repay fourfold what he has gained through extortion and fraud which would include false accusations. If he gave all of his possessions away, then he would not be able to fulfill this obligation. It must be pointed out that he is doing this voluntarily even though he is admitting that he has done it. In other words, he is not restricting restitution to those that take him to court and prove their claims. He is saying that he knows what he has done and will be cheerfully paying them back. Let me quickly add that this not at the rate of voluntary restitution as required in Leviticus 6:4-5 which was the value of what was lost plus a fifth (20%). Instead, he is going to repay at the rate given in Exodus 2:11 for a thief caught stealing and slaughtering or selling a sheep.
Also take note that this will be a very serious economic decline for Zaccheus. While he might not be impoverished by it, he will certainly not be the rich man he had been. That is the other major contrast to the rich young ruler who valued his wealth more than treasure in heaven. Zaccheus has a sudden change of heart and no longer values his wealth. Actions of righteousness have become much more important. That is the fruit of repentance John the Baptist described in Luke 3. Zaccheus became the living reality of Ezekiel 18:27–31, 27 “Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. 28 “Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”
Jesus, Giver of Salvation – Luke 19:9
Jesus made the declaration about the condition of Zaccheus’ soul in verse 9, And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.”
Zaccheus did not gain salvation by his commitment of charity and restitution. Those things were only the fruit giving evidence of a man whose soul was changed from the pursuit of worldliness to the pursuit of righteousness. They are the evidence of salvation, not the means of it. And when the head of the house is saved, salvation enters the home and often those within it also come to salvation.
Jesus also pointedly remarks that Zaccheus is also a son of Abraham. This has two points. First, it would be rebuke to the self-righteous Pharisees who treated sinners such as Zaccheus as if they were not descendants of Abraham. They wrongly thought salvation came due to their lineal descent from Abraham and wanted to exclude sinners from that. However, salvation comes by the will of God and not “blood” (John 1:13). Jesus affirms that Zaccheus is as Jewish as any Jew.
Second, this is a reference to Zaccheus being a son of Abraham in the spiritual sense. He was a descendant of the same faith as Abraham and not just blood line. As Paul explains in multiple passages, it is faith like that of Abraham that is reckoned as righteousness and not ancestry (Romans 4, Galatians 3). It is circumcision of the heart by the Spirit that is critical and not circumcision of the flesh (Romans 2). Even Gentiles can be included by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3).
Jesus, Savior of the Lost – Luke 19:10
Jesus concludes with a statement that summarizes not only His actions with Zaccheus, but why He came into the world. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”
Zaccheus did not save himself. Everything in his life was against him being saved. By his own choice he was a flagrant sinner who stole from his own people to benefit himself and the enemies of his nation. His heart was set on worldliness and he had accumulated many of its riches. By Jesus’ statements in Luke 18:24-27, it was impossible for this rich man to be saved except by God. But then, it is impossible for any man to be saved except by God. Again John 1:13 states that children of God are born, “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” Titus 3:5 proclaims, “5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it plain stating, 8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
All claims that man can somehow be saved by his own efforts are directly contradictory to what God has declared. You can be saved for one reason and one reason only. The Son of Man, one of Jesus’ Messianic titles, came to seek and save that which was lost, and Zaccheus is an example of that. Zaccheus was curious and determined to get a look at Jesus, but it was Jesus in His omniscience that already knew Zaccheus, and in His sovereignty had a divine appointment with him at a tree in Jericho.
If Jesus has already found you, you understand this because you have experienced His grace which has put into your heart a different reason for living. Life becomes about pleasing and glorifying God instead of self. Rejoice and proclaim the gospel to others so that they can experience what you have experience and be assured their destiny is heaven and not hell.
If you have not experienced that yet, let me encourage you to be like Zaccheus. Do not let the obstacles in your path keep you from your pursuit. Remain curious and persistent to find out the truth about Jesus. You do not know what tree you may climb to get a glimpse of Him and suddenly find Him focusing His attention on you resulting in your life unexpectedly changing. Heed the encouragement and direction given in Isaiah 55:6-7, 6 “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”
Sermon Notes – 4/22/2018
The Impossible Salvation of a Rich Tax-Collector – Luke 19:1-10
The rich young ruler wanted to know what good thing he must do to __________ eternal life
Jesus pointed him back to the ________ in order to bring about conviction of sin
The man claimed to have kept the law, but knew something was ____________
Jesus challenged him to apply the law of loving your neighbor and then ___________ Him
The man went away _____________because would not trade his worldly riches for treasure in heaven
It is _______________for the rich to be saved – but all things are possible with God
Jericho – Luke 19:1
The older and newer sections of Jericho were ____________ apart
Jericho has a tropical climate and was _________ in agriculture – balsam its most precious crop
It was also wealthy because being at a _____________of trade routes and location of Herod’s winter palace
Zaccheus, The Tax Collector – Luke 19:2
He was a chief or _________ of tax collectors and wealthy
He would have been considered a __________for collecting taxes for a foreign and oppressive government
He would have been hated for becoming rich by __________________on the many taxes being collected
He would have been ______________by Jewish society reducing his social circles to publicans and sinners
Zaccheus, Curious & Determined – Luke 19:3-4
He wants to see Jesus, but he is too __________to see over people and they would not let him up front
Innovative and determined, he runs ahead to _________a sycamore tree in order to see over the crowds
It was not ___________for men to run and climb trees, but he did not care, for he wanted to see Jesus
Jesus, Omniscient & Gracious – Luke 19:5-6
Jesus noticed Zaccheus despite the crowds, then stopped and called him by __________
If Jesus would have known his occupation since He knew his name, yet Jesus is going to ________with him
Jesus uses a strong term expressing a divine ______________for Him to stay with Zaccheus
This demonstrated both Jesus’ _______________and sovereignty
Zaccheus, though more used to giving commands, obeys Jesus happily and __________Jesus into his home
The Crowd, Self-Righteous & Cold-Hearted – Luke 19:7
Those in the crowd were jealous & recoiled as Jesus giving such an _____to a sinner instead of one of them
Grumbling is quietly expressing _______________ among other grumblers
It is ________to see things from God’s perspective, but that is the only way to understand what He is doing
Jesus _______________the hearts of sinners
Zaccheus, Repentant & Genuine – Luke 19:8
He stops whatever he was doing to express his conviction and determined ___________ of correction
What he says and does is a great and radical change demonstrating the __________of true repentance
What caused the rich young ruler grief, Zaccheus does ______________
He does not give it all away to the poor so that he can pay voluntary ______________to those he defrauded
Zaccheus willingly suffers severe economic decline because he now values _____________more than riches
Jesus, Giver of Salvation – Luke 19:9
Zaccheus’ charity and voluntary restitution were ___________of salvation, not to gain salvation
Pronouncing Zaccheus as a son of Abraham is a _________ to the Pharisees
He was also a son of Abraham in demonstrating the same _________
Jesus, Savior of the Lost – Luke 19:10
Zaccheus did not and could not save himself – that was ___________
Man can be saved only because Jesus came to seek and save the ___________
If you are saved, rejoice and ___________others
If not, be curious and persistent like Zaccheus to _________the Lord while He may be found – Isaiah 55:6-7
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times a reference is made to Zaccheus. 2) Discuss with your parents why salvation from sin is only possible with God.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. In Luke 18:18-27, what was the rich young ruler’s understanding of the law and salvation? Why did he go away grieved instead of following Jesus? Why did Jesus say it was impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven? Describe Jericho at the time of Christ. How did agriculture contribute to its wealth? Why else was it a wealthy city? Why was this good for Zaccheus the tax collector? How did Zaccheus become rich? Why would he be ostracized from Jewish society? Who would be his friends? Why couldn’t get into a position to see Jesus at ground level? What kind of tree did he climb? What would the people think of a grown man running and climbing trees in public? Why is it so surprising that Jesus would stop and tell Zaccheus to come down for He was going to stay with him? Why would Zaccheus be glad to do this? Why would those in the crowd be upset by it and grumble about it? Why is grumbling a sign of ungodliness? How does Zaccheus pronouncement concerning his wealth and making restitution demonstrate a genuine repentance? Why didn’t he promise to give all of his wealth away? What did the Mosaic law require for voluntary restitution? Why would Zaccheus give so much more? How would Jesus’ pronouncement that Zaccheus was a son of Abraham be received by the Pharisees? Can a Gentile become a “child of Abraham,” and if so, how? Could Zaccheus gain salvation for himself? Can any human gain salvation for himself? How is a person saved from their sins? Do you know where you spend eternity? How can you be sure you will go to heaven and not hell? If you are not sure, what needs to change? When will you change it? If you are sure you are going to heaven, what is your plan to tell others how they can go there?
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