Our “Trapped” series concluded with a chance for me to touch on the subject of isolation and loneliness. In this sermon, I dealt with the unfortunate fact that so many people around us are used to being a face in the crowd, but don’t have anyone that knows their face. If that’s you today, know this: God knows you.
Unfortunately, due to some technical glitches from that Sunday…this video contains sub-par audio and a gap or two. Super bummed. I contemplated not adding it, but I still think the message is an important one – even when shared from an imperfect source. Sounds a lot like preaching.
If you want to know what you missed, below are my manuscript notes from the gap in the video (around 19:55). Bolded portions at begining and end are the pieces you will catch on the video, and the plain text is everything you missed:
“Zacchaeus. I found you.” “Courtney. You can stop hiding.” “Greg. Come out from there.”
When one of the first deacons, Stephen, stood up for his faith in front of an angry crowd in Acts 9, he could have felt very alone. Instead, he spoke the truth even at the cost of his life… do you know how he was able to do that? God was with him.
When Paul and Silas were thrown into solitary confinement in Acts 16, they could have felt very alone. Do you know why instead, the other prisoners could hear them praying and singing? Because God was with them.
“19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 [NIV]
If you’re feeling trapped alone, know this: God knows you and is with you. You’re never alone. The second turning thing Jesus did was ask to use Zacchaeus’ house.
Do you think Zacchaeus had company often? Do you think people loved getting invitations to Zacchaeus’ house? I’m sure Zacchaeus had some pretty nice digs. He was rich, after all. But I wonder if he had to wipe off the layer of dust on the dining room table when he got home with his guests. Jesus didn’t just make sure Zacchaeus knew that he knew who Zacchaeus was. He went even further and brought community into his life. When Jesus came over to your house, it wasn’t just a nice evening meal for two. Wherever Jesus went, crowds followed. So I’m sure that when Jesus came over to Zacchaeus’ house, Zacchaeus had more company than he ever had entertained before.
So for those of you trapped alone this morning…here’s your second turning point.