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This is what I taught at the Cornerstone on Sunday, March 11. Join me Tuesday for a Facebook LIVE discussion of the teaching.


Part 1 of Our Great Savior. Luke 19:1-10

Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. March 11, 2018.


If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus - what he did, what he said, his character. Jesus is the REVELATION of God because he is the INCARNATION of God. We believe that Jesus is God in a body. The Bible tells us that:

"In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body." - Colossians 2:9 (NLT)

Jesus is the God-man. God became one of us in Jesus. But why? The story of Zacchaeus explains why God became one of us. It also provides us insights into how the incarnation impacts our lives.


Jesus was walking through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Crowds came out to see the famous miracle worker. But Jesus looked up and saw a man in a tree. And called him by name. Zacchaeus! Jesus had never met him, but he knew him.

Jesus showed the same kind of miraculous knowledge the first time he met two other guys:

  • Peter - he knew him and his future: "Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). "- John 1:43.

  • Nathanael - he knew him and his past: "When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked." - John 1:47-48

Jesus knew these men so well because God knew them. Actually, God knows all of us. The psalmist put this idea into a song:

"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me ... 3 you are familiar with all my ways. " Psalms 139:1, 3

God knows each of us personally. Now he wants us to know him. That's why he became one of us. The Bible says:

"Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to KNOW me, that I am the Lord." - Jeremiah 9:23-24

Jesus knew Zacchaeus. Now he wanted Zach to know him.


Jesus was on a search and rescue mission. When he saw Zacchaeus, the search was over. But why was Jesus looking to rescue Zach? Zacchaeus was a little man with a big reputation:

  • Verse 2: He had gotten wealthy by working with the Roman government to squeeze taxes from his fellow Jews - plus extra for his cut. He was a collaborator with the occupying enemy. And he was good at it. He was the chief - the leader of a network of collectors who set up roadblocks on the main road to tax all the goods being transported.

  • Verse 7: His own neighbors called him a "sinner" - verse 7. - a social and spiritual outcast, untouchable.

  • Verse 10: Jesus called him "lost." It's part of a metaphor - "the lost sheep of Israel" (Jeremiah 50:6; Matthew 10:6). Zach grew up knowing about God, but he did not personally know God. He had no room for God in his life.

But Jesus said to him, "I must stay at your house today" - verse 5. In that culture, Jesus was saying, "I want to be your friend" or, "I am your brother in the Faith."

In another story, the religious leaders accused Jesus: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” - Matthew 15:2. They were saying, "He makes friends with ungodly people." I think Jesus would have replied, "Exactly! What's your point?"

God became one of us to be our friend, our brother in the Faith (see Hebrews 2:11-14). He knows what we are like and he seeks (v. 10) us out anyway. He knows we'll never find him on our own, so he comes looking for us.

Do you remember the day that happened to you?

If you want to know what its like to meet Jesus for the first time, CT magazine had a feature on 10 modern conversion stories:



When Jesus meets us. When he makes friends with us. He changes us. The Bible calls this "salvation." In verse 8, Zach shows that he's been profoundly impacted by Jesus.

He admits he's led a selfish life, but that's now changed: "Here and now I give half my possessions to the poor." The Bible tells us that wise and godly behavior is to care for the poor. For example: Proverbs 14:31 "Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." (For a list of Bible passages related to the care for the poor: https://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/poor.htm)

He admits he's been a thief, but that's now changed: "If I have cheated anybody of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Under God's law, that was the fine for stealing property (see Exodus 22:1, which has a list of fines for theft).

Zach wasn't saying this to impress Jesus or to buy his way back to God. He was doing this because Jesus had powerfully saved him from his old life of sin. After that, Zach looked at his past with regret. He wanted to live his future for God.

Look how Jesus explains this mind-boggling change in Zach's life: verse 9: “Today salvation has come to this house" Zach didn't save himself. Jesus brought salvation to the house. Only God can do that. He is the only Savior:

"There is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me." Isaiah 45:21

God became one of us to seek and to save us - verse 10. He came searching for his lost sheep:

Ezekiel 34:16 "I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak ..." (See the whole chapter)

Have you met Jesus like this?


Soon after this wonderful meeting with Zacchaeus, Jesus walked on up to Jerusalem where he was arrested, condemned, and crucified.

The cross may seem to be a tragedy. In fact, it was God's secret rescue plan. He became one of us so that he could be the good shepherd who lays down his life to save his sheep.

The salvation Jesus brought to Zach's house was obtained at the cross:

"He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault." - Colossians 1:22 (NLT)

That describes exactly why God became one of us. He knows who we are. He knows what we are like. And he knows what we need. The Lord says to you today:

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22


Anselm's 11th century book, Cur Deus Homo (Why the God-Man), is the seminal work on the necessity of the incarnation.

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