Christ came to make us into a new creation. We ceased to resemble what we once were. The essence of Christianity is that each person is given a new script, a new reality, and a new identity. There is a moment when people change. A thief on a cross becomes a guest in paradise. A prostitute becomes an example of divine love. A murderer of Christians becomes the most significant Christian missionary of all time. This week we focus on how the old has passed away and everything has become new!
The people mutter, “Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” And they were right. Zacchaeus was a sinner of the worst kind. He had gotten rich from collaborating with invaders and by fleecing his neighbors. So, his neighbors regarded him as human filth. His name became a sneer on the lips of fellow Jews. He was a standing joke. But for some reason, Jesus chooses to dine with the most hated man in town.
The Roman soldiers seek to humiliate Jesus. They anoint Him with a purple robe and their spit in a mock coronation. Yet at the end of the crucifixion, when Jesus dies on the cross, a Roman centurion says, “Truly this man was God’s son.” So what happened to that Roman soldier watching the crucifixion that changed his mind? We will explore the change in a message titled, “Journey to Easter: Distracted by Clothing.”
Many Biblical characters needed a second chance. And when you think about it they needed a third chance, fourth chance and… In this five week sermon series, we will take a look at how Jesus was the master of giving a second chance. And when He did lives were transformed. Jesus even said, “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) Join us for five weeks of second chances.
Christianity almost became a small sect of Judaism until a decision was made at the first Church Council. That decision would declare that grace was way more important than the Law of Moses. It would define Christianity forever.
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on October 15, 2017 by Rev. Fred A. Steinberg