A RECIPE FOR DIVINE ENCOUNTER - PART ONE
Friends, I greet you again in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, I want to speak on A Recipe for Divine Encounter. And the text is taken from Luke 19: the experience that Zacchaeus had with Jesus Christ.
1Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him,[a] and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Thank You, Father, for another time we can meet around Your Word. I commit into Your hands now my friends, and ask O God that You would speak to all…in Jesus Name. Amen!
A Recipe for Divine Encounter!
The word recipe is familiar especially to women who are interested in getting information on how to prepare different kinds of meals. It is synonymous with ingredient, procedure or instruction.
We want to see in the life of Zacchaeus the procedure, the ingredient or the instruction for an encounter. When we talk of encounter we mean experience – a meeting of sort with God.
A recipe for divine encounter.
Let us consider the following…first of all, I want us to examine the curiosity of Zacchaeus, and then secondly, the calculation of Zacchaeus; then finally, the encounter itself.
The curiosity of Zacchaeus
We find that in verse 3
3And he sought to see who Jesus was…
Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus. The tense that is used there, or the tense of the verb, he sought, that is from to seek; In the original, that is, in the Greek New Testament, the tense is imperfect tense. And we know in English that imperfect tense is a continuous action in the past. So, it is not just simply that he sought to see Jesus – because given the tense we will understand then that he continuously sought, or he was seeking to see Jesus, who He was. And the word is the same used by Jesus in Matthew 6:33
33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
The same word: to seek. It means to strive for; it means to endeavor to obtain; it means to be on the watch for something. And that was exactly what Zacchaeus was doing. But the point is that he did it persistently.
Curiosity is said to be the driving force behind human development in various areas. Scientific discoveries have always been driven by curiosity. It is interesting to note that the vehicle currently exploring Mars, a vehicle sent by NASA (NASA is the United States’ Agency – National Aeronautics and Space Administration), they have sent an exploratory machine to Mars. And the interesting thing is that that vehicle that is now exploring Mars and sending pictures to the Earth is called Curiosity Rover.
Curiosity is the driving force of human accomplishments. The curious are always asking questions to gain understanding, to gain knowledge – to get information. If you have a child who is curious…and some of you my friends have such children: they are always asking questions – don’t…please be impatient with them. It is because they want to learn; they want to know.
The opposite of curiosity is apathy. And you don’t want your child to be apathetic. For me the best definition for apathy is sit-down-look. Nigerians will understand that colloquial.
I have a poster in my office, a poster of three funny faces of monkeys. And that poster says, “There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.” The apathetic are not in the first group – they are always in the last two groups. They watch things happen. They wonder what happened.
How curious are you about life in general, friends? How curious are you about the things of God in particular? Nothing about God excites you: reading the bible, prayer, fasting, evangelism, not to talk of giving for the work of God – none of those excites you. You are apathetic in the things of God. But the only things that excite you are the things of this life – of this world: partying, drinking. You want a divine encounter. You want a touch from God, and yet you are not curious about God.
If you recall the encounter that Moses had with God on Mount Horeb, that encounter was motivated by his curiosity.
3Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
He was curious. It was his curiosity that drew him to the burning bush. And when God saw that he had his attention, in verse 4
4So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
The rest is history. Curiosity! Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus Christ.
Let’s go to the second point.
The Calculation of Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus had three limitations. These three limitations are dangerous.
He was a tax collector, but more than that, a chief tax collector: an executive – a tax collector for the Roman Government.
He was rich or wealthy.
He was of short stature.
I know you’ll be wondering how in the world will being an executive in your place of work be a limitation? How in the world would wealth be a limitation to anybody?
We will see how when we come back next time. But for now, friend, I want to again remind you that for you to have the touch of God, for you to have divine encounter with God, the primary ingredient is: curiosity. Are you curious about God and the things of God? That will draw you closer to Him. And when God sees that He has your attention – He would speak to you; He would touch you. But He will get your attention first. Will you draw near to Him today? Will you pray, Draw me nearer, nearer to You, O God?
Our Father, as many as are praying that simple prayer, I trust that You will answer; and You will draw them to Yourself, to reveal to them who You are, and to touch them at the various points of their needs. Grant it, O God….we pray in Jesus Name. Amen!