He was to pass this way
E-1 Let us just remain standing for a few moments, as we read God's Word. I was thinking of all that introduction I'd really have to live a real life to live that up, wouldn't I? That's men that love you.
Over in the Book of St. Luke the 19th chapter, I want to read just a portion of this Scripture, the first five verses.
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which had... was a chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and he could not for the press, because he was little of statue.
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste... come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it... all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be the guest of a man which was a sinner.
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore to him fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
E-2 Let us pray. Our heavenly Father, we are grateful to Thee this morning because You are still seeking to save the sons of Abraham, that which is lost. We pray, heavenly Father, that You will receive our humble prayer, and bless our gathering together here today. And may it not be in vain, but may the great Holy Spirit teach us the way of life, knowing this, that we must stand in His Presence someday to give an account of what we've done with this life. Bless us together now, as we further wait on Thee. In Jesus' Name. Amen. Be seated.
E-3 I am sure happy to have good friends--people who believe, and believe the efforts that you're trying to put forth. If I had any other objective, just merely to be different, why, I would be a real sinner. But my objective is to magnify Jesus Christ. And something that's in a man when you have a message from God, you cannot stop yourself; there's something in you pulsating; it goes on anyhow. You can't slow it up, stop it, or start it. It stops, and starts, and slows up you. See? It's the one that has control.
Thanks to these fine brethren, for their testimony of our Lord Jesus. They wasn't speaking of me. Of course not. They were speaking of Him.
E-4 Like I was reading a little article here not long ago about Mr. Moody. Said Chicago was going... Newspaper was going to write an editorial on him. And they sent a--someone out to find out why people gathered to hear Mr. Moody. And the editorial... Mr. Moody is like myself. He didn't have enough education to read the editorial, so his manager had to read it. Mr. Moody was a shoe cobbler formerly, and he was called of God for a message of his--the hour.
And so, the manager was reading the editorial, and it said, "Why would anybody go to hear Dwight Moody?" Said, "The first place, he's the ugliest man I ever seen." And said, "He's baldheaded and long whiskers," and so forth. And said, "And he--he whines when he talks. His grammar is the worst I ever heard, and..." Oh, it was just carrying on like that.
Said Mr. Moody just shrugged his shoulders and said, "Certainly not. They come to see Christ." So I--I think that's just the answer. It's Christ that we want to see. "If I be lifted up I'll will draw all men unto Me."
E-5 I was thinking, after visiting here in the--the city, and finding that the people how nice they've been, what a nice meeting we're having up here at this Denham Springs High School, or school auditorium. I was thinking the people here are something like the coffee here. My, it's not quantity, but it's quality. Whole lot in one of them cups.
You remember my first time landing at the airport out here. The brother that was coming to get me is setting here. And a little French girl there. I asked for a hamburger and a cup of coffee. I never drank it till I was about thirty-eight years old; I ought to knowed better. But... And Brother Brown, I guess he's here this morning somewhere. He's setting right here. He liked it so well. And he got me... I had a ministerial breakfast at seven o'clock, and one at eight o'clock, one at nine o'clock. You couldn't eat all that, so they pour coffee, and I got to sipping it. And first thing, I got to drinking it.
So I asked this girl, I told her I want a hamburger and a cup of coffee. When they brought the little cup out I thought, "My, my. They're sure tight on their coffee around here." First drink, first swallow, I tell you. Oh, my. I had to fight for breath.
That little lady said, "You must be a Yankee." She said, "I'll fix you a Yankee cup."
E-6 So that's the way I find the people. Maybe not the greatest crowds I've ever spoke to, but real genuine quality. I'm grateful for that, a listening audience, somebody who sets and pays attention to what you're saying. That's what I want you to do. Examine what a man says by the Word of God. And if it isn't right, then it isn't right. That's all. If it is the Word of God, then God's got to testify of His Word, because He promised to. So, that's the way we like to examine these things to--to find out.
E-7 Now, I understood this morning that this was to be a Business Men's breakfast, and the Full Gospel Business Men, which I'm a member of their chapter. I think this... They said some of them was here. Some of them didn't get out. Maybe they're businessmen. They got their business they have to tend to. I'm going to give them excuse anyhow. So--so he said, many of the people were here anyhow. So that's very fine.
I... just a little joke. I've told it, but maybe it... This is not a place to joke, of course, but just a little sense of humor. When you talk like we've been awhile ago, well, maybe get people back on some sense of humor.
E-8 I remember one time a friend and I were at school together. His name's Wilmer Snyder. His brother's a Baptist minister, and he--he writes in this "Upper Room," a column in "The Upper Room." We were school boys together. And I studied the ministry, and he--he become an insurance agent. And so, he come to my house one day to visit me, and...
Now, there may be some insurance agents here. I'm not saying nothing about insurance now. I hope you don't think wrong of this, but to catch the little hang of what I--the way I said it. So, my brother also is--has the Prudential, and he sells Prudential insurance.
E-9 So one time I had a little something done by an insurance company that I... I guess, not knowing very much, I... They read the policy to me wrong, and it was misrepresented to me, and I just never did take it out, I...
So one day Wilmer come up to see me, and he said--he said, "How you getting along, Billy?"
I said, "Fine."
Said, "I hear you been out in the meetings." I said, "Yes, I'm out in the meetings."
I was telling him about a fellow, said to me, said, "Say, you're a preacher. What are you doing hanging around these businessmen?"
Well, I said, "I am a businessman."
And he said, "Aw, what business you in?"
I said, "Assurance business." And, see, he didn't get it. I never said, "insurance," I said, "assurance." And so I said, "Assurance business."
He said, "Oh," said, "I see." Said, "What--what insurance do you sell?"
I said, "I sell Eternal Life assurance." And I'm still selling it. So I'd be... If any of you are interested, I'll like to talk the policy with you, right after the meeting, if it's all right.
And so he--he said--he said, "Eternal life?" Said, "I don't believe I ever heard of the company."
I said, "Oh, you never? Brother, It's well known." And he said... I said, "It's an old establishment."
And he said, "Where's the headquarters?"
I said, "In glory."
E-10 Wilmer said to me; he said, "Billy, I thought I'd come up and sell you some insurance." Said, "I hear you don't have any insurance."
And I said, "Oh, yes. I--I have assurance."
And he said, "Oh, I'm sorry." He said, "I guess your brother, you have it with him."
I said, "No, not exactly with him."
My wife looked at me, as if she said, "Well, you must be telling a story." She knowed I didn't have any insurance, but she didn't get it either. I said, "assurance," not "insurance."
He said, "What insurance do you have, Billy?"
I said, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory Divine! I'm a heir of salvation, purchased of God, borned of His Spirit, washed in His Blood."
He said, "Billy, that's very nice." Said, "That's very nice." Said, "I've nothing against that." But said, "That won't put you up here in this graveyard when you're gone."
I said, "It'll get me out. I'm not worried about getting in. I'm not bothered about getting in; it's getting out." So this is the only thing I know will get you out. So if you're interested in getting out, let us talk to you about it.
E-11 Looking upon the audience this morning, I won't keep you but just a little bit. And I had a text I was going to preach from, so then I thought, "Well, I better not do that." I'm just going to have a little drama of something, a character in the Bible.
In thinking here over in serious matters... Now, while we're setting here as Christians, I suppose most of us, did you know this may be the last time that we'll ever eat breakfast together? Did you ever think of that? And do you realize what little words I have to say here, God's going to make me answer for it up there at the day of judgment. See? And I have souls here no matter if it's a small group, but yet I have... It's... The words that I say, will--I'll have to answer for them up there. So we may never eat another breakfast together. But I hope we eat a supper together someday. That's the last supper, up there with Him. It'll be the first one there.
And then, as we sit here this morning, and I look upon these men here, and some of them great ministers who's studied. And me, here, just a bushman come out, no education, setting here men that's qualified to preach, and doctors of divinity, I feel very little to stand and talk before men like that. But yet, I've--I got to express what I feel. And their great gratitude and kindness to let me stand and do this, I appreciate it, brothers, cooperating in the meeting and getting together. I'm here to help you. I'm going to do everything I can for each one of you, by the grace of God.
E-12 And then when it's all over someday... If I don't get to eat breakfast with you again. When it's all over, setting across the table from one another, that's the time I'm looking for. No doubt but little tears will run down our cheeks, look across the table and get each other by the hand. It'll mean something then. Let's work while there's time to work, while the sun's up. It'll be down after while. It's getting very low.
Then, to think that while we're setting there holding each other's hands and weeping a little, then the great King will come out in all of His great robes, come down along the line, wipe all tears away from our eyes and say, "It's well done, My good and faithful servants. Enter into the joys of the Lord that's been prepared for you since the foundation of the world." While the sun's up and it's light enough to labor, let's labor.
E-13 Now, this little text here may seem kind of ridiculous, but we're going to talk on this subject: "He Was to Pass This Way."
It must've been an--an awful night on the little fellow. He couldn't sleep at all. He just rolled and tossed all night long. It was breaking day. And we all know what those restless nights mean. You can't sleep. You got something on your mind, or something's got your nerves all upset.
And this little fellow was a businessman, maybe in the city of Jericho, which is something like you businessmen and women here. And he--he, no doubt, had a growing business. He stood in good with the--all the clubs and so forth, and was a member of the church, the Sanhedrin Council, and had a fine priest. And he believed this priest.
E-14 And the strange thing about this case though, is his wife. We'll call her Rebekah. She had strayed off on the wrong side; he thought. So did the priest. She was following a Man that was supposed to be a prophet of Nazareth, a Man named Jesus. And the people, the poor class of people, believed Him to be a prophet, or a Messiah that was promised. But it didn't meet just the qualifications of the Sanhedrin.
Strange, sometimes God does things off of the color that we think it ought to be in. This Fellow (You see?) was born, to their opinion, a illegitimate birth. His mother gave birth to Him before her and her husband was married. Another thing, He had no schooling. They didn't have no record of Him ever going to school. He was not a priest. Neither was He a rabbi. He just had claims, like, of His own. As Brother Don so greatly stated this morning, it was a turning corner. They didn't recognize it. It usually happens that way; it come to that cornertime.
But somehow or another, his wife had been persuaded that He was that prophet that was to come, and she had followed Him, believed Him. And she had tried to tell her husband, but he was so carried away in his business, and with the... He belonged to church, isn't that good enough?
E-15 Something like the rich young ruler, you know. He had a business also, but he realized... He was a member of the church but he didn't have Eternal Life. And he had... He seen something in Jesus that other men didn't have. And he said--come to Him and said he wanted to know if he--what he could do to have Eternal Life.
And Jesus told him, "Keep the commandments."
He said, "I've done this since I was a youth." See, it showed he was a believer. But he knew that Jesus had something that those priests and rabbis didn't have. And when a man ever comes in contact with Jesus Christ, he's different from then. You're never the same when you once see Him, if there's any spark of God about you.
E-16 So Rebekah had found this Jesus. And He--He was to her exactly the fulfilling of the promise that the Jews had been looking for, for their day. So the news had got around that He was going to have a breakfast, or some kind of a dinner, or something, down in Jericho. So she had got busy to praying about her businessman husband. We need more Rebekahs everywhere. See? See, prayer changes things. If--if you lay your husband, or your unsaved one, before God and then pray, God will make a way somewhere 'cause He promised to.
So that's what Rebekah... Being a staunch believer and a follower of the Lord Jesus, and a very fine, sweet person she must've been, she had--interested in her household. And I think that that reflects again, that if--if a person ever meets Jesus and finds Him really in your heart, you're interested not only in your own household but the household of God everywhere. You're interested that they know Him. And to know Him is Life: know Him (See?) not know how to read the Word, or... But know Him is Life. So she had prayed hard.
E-17 And the day grew close to when Jesus was supposed to enter the city. No doubt but the day before, she might've seen if his attitude had changed any. So she said maybe, "Zacchaeus, are--are you going to that breakfast in the morning?"
"Why, certainly not. Why, that bunch of people... You expect me... I've got the best restaurant in town, and they hold it over at Levinski's. (I hope there's not a Levinski here.) But anyhow, over at the other place. You see? And why, I got the best place in town. They picked that place down there, where they ought--they ought to come to my place to hold this." You see? He wasn't going.
Then she got to praying really desperately. So then, that night the little fellow couldn't rest at all. You know, there's something about it. If you go to really desperately praying about something, God works on both ends of the line. See? He--He--He answers.
E-18 So the little fellow, he must've got to thinking that night, "Wonder if I should go down and--and--and hear this Man. Now, Rebekah says that He's a prophet. Now, we know we haven't had any prophets for hundreds of years, and I asked the priest about it. He said, 'Nothing but just a nonsense. If there'd be a prophet raise up, wouldn't he come through the church? That's the way he'd have to come. He'd come to us Pharisees, or Sadducees, or our group, or he wouldn't be a prophet.'"
You know that attitude still holds. So they think it has to come that way, or it isn't right. So they said... No doubt but in this great time that... She believed it anyhow, and he had discussed it with the priest.
And the priest said, "Now, looky here. Them days of prophets have been many, many years ago. We've got the law. We've got it all wrote out. The situation's under control, and we got it in our hands. And we know about these things."
But then, 'course Zacchaeus not looking into it, just absolutely just presuming, taking it for granted. The word "presume" is "to venture without authority." Why, he--he thought that that was all right. As long as he belonged to the church, that's all he had to do.
But then, as night begin to come on, there come a sudden desire in his heart. "Maybe, if this Person is in town, He may never be here again. I should go and investigate the--the situation, see for myself."
Now, that's a good idea. Look it over yourself. Don't go to criticize. Take the Word and examine the Word by it.
So she... Rebekah had tried, as a woman could, to explain that... what the prophets had said, and what Moses had said this Person would be and when He comes. So she must've tried to explain it to him. But yet the priest had much more influence over him than what Rebekah, his wife, did.
E-19 Then morning begin to dawn. Why, the little fellow was... Rebekah, I can imagine her, seen her punch him saying, "Zacchaeus, you mean to say you don't want to go down?"
"No, I don't want nothing to do with it."
You know, don't be--don't be disgusted, Rebekah. Sometimes that's a good sign. See? Just--just when he gets so discouraged to talk about it, and everything else, that's a pretty good sign sometimes.
So after while... Rebekah act like she was asleep, only she was praying. And she finds Zacchaeus slips out of the bed real easy, you know, and goes over and grooms hisself all up, and combs his hair just right, and puts on his best garment. And she peeped over out of one eye to see what he was doing. She knew right then God had answered prayer. She knew something's going to take place.
E-20 So Zacchaeus tiptoes out, not letting Rebekah know where he's a-going, you know. And he slips out, and gets outside and looks back. She raises up the curtain, looks out to see him going out. She says, "Thank You, Lord. It's all all right now." See? Like Elijah did when he said, "I see that the cloud the size of a man's hand," just the first little evidence, "something's fixing to happen."
So he goes out and down the streets. She said, "Now, I understand He's going to enter in by the south gate, so I better go over there and stand." Said, "Now, I'll get me a place, and I will stand right there. And when He comes in, I'll see how much prophet that fellow is. And I'm going to walk right out, and put my finger under his nose, and I'm going to give Him a piece of my mind."
"And when He comes, I'm going to tell Him that all of his nonsense has caused my wife... And these prayer meetings, and things, I'm getting sick and tired of it. I'm going to... I'm going to say something about this. See? I'll tell Him. And then I know Rabbi will certainly pat me on the back and say, 'Zacchaeus, you're a good member of this church. You--you're sure a fine fellow.'" So he said, "I'll get down there early."
E-21 So, he got down... When he got about a block or two of the gate, come to find out the place was jammed. They was hanging on the walls and everywhere. Somehow or another, even though He was talked about, there was somebody still liked to hear Him. Somebody would listen. So he said, "Now, how am I going to ever see Him come in the gate?" You remember the Bible said he was small of statue. And he said, "I'm too little." So he pushed around, "Here, give me a little room."
You can tell he isn't a Christian yet (You see?), acting like that. Christians don't have that attitude. See?
"Stand back. You know who I am? I'm Zacchaeus. I own the restaurant up here. Get--stand out of my way."
See, now that ain't a Christian, and everybody knowed he wasn't. Maybe some of them knew that Rebekah was praying. Well, they said, "Well, you stand back."
E-22 And so he knowed he'd never get to see Him in all that crowd, so he wouldn't be able to express his thoughts to Him. So he thought, "Well, now. What'll I do? Maybe I'll go back home, and just forget the whole matter." But you know, there's something about it, that when you make up your mind that you want to see Him, there's nothing going to stop you from seeing Him. I don't care what it is, you're--you're persistent. And like the little Greek woman was persistent to get to Jesus.
And there's something about it, that whenever you make up your mind that you're going to see Him, there's nothing going to stop you. But remember, when you make up your mind, then the devil's going to do everything he can to stop you. He's determined that you're not going to understand it. You're not going to see it. He'll throw every black sheet across he can to keep you from seeing it. So there was his first barricade right there.
E-23 So then, he started off, said, "Well, I guess..." And looked over there and there stood some of his competitors. And they... He knew then that... Some of the folks from the church, so there... He had made so much fun of this Jesus of Nazareth being a prophet, then here stood his--some of his members looking at him, right down there in the same group. He just couldn't be hid. He was identified.
And Zacchaeus, you're already identified, so just... You know, if there happened to be one here, you're already mixed up in the group now. So they already know that we're here. So we just might as well get acquainted, know one another.
So he said, "Well, this is odd." Here he looked around, seen one standing here.
E-24 You know after all, they're all about like you. They--they want to find out something. A man knows that he come from somewhere from the beyond, and when he leaves he goes back somewhere. And he's always trying to find something to find out where he come from, and where's he going. There's only one has that answer--that's God. Every man wants to look over that curtain. And when you see anything that can show you what's over the curtain, where you been, who you are, and where you're going...
There's only one Book... Of all the literature that is wrote, of the millions of tons, this is the Book that tells you who you are, where you come from, and where you're going. There's no other book that'll do it: that Bible. And the Word is God, the Bible said.
E-25 Now we find that this fellow, with all around... He was embarrassed to find out he was in the midst of a people that was screaming, and crying, and hollering, and acting like they were crazy. So--but he--there he was setting, identified with them. So he--he just had to stay. That's all there was to it. Now, he said, "Well, if I've come this far, I might as well go on till I really find Him out."
Now, Zacchaeus, that's a good idea. You done got here at the breakfast, so now let's just go on. See? We're all this far.
So now we find out that, as they went along he said, "Now, if I stay here I--I cannot see, because I'm too small. So you know, I believe I'll get out of this crowd and run down on the corner, where I'll be standing by myself, get me a place right on the edge of the pavement. And when He comes by, then I'll walk right out in the street and tell Him what I think of Him. I'll give him a piece of my mind."
E-26 So he took off away from the crowd and went down. He thought "Now, which way will He go?"
Well, he went down to Hallelujah Avenue. That's usually the way He travels. You see? And went down to Amen Corner, where it turns there to go down to the--to the eating place. That's where you go, you know, Hallelujah Avenue, and Amen Corner. Then you're ready to eat the Word then. See?
So he went down to this corner, and stood there on the corner, said, "Now, there's nobody here. And when I..." (I know this sounds ridiculous, but I... Just hold on a minute.) So then, first thing you know, he got down to this corner. And he said, "There's nobody here, so I'll stand here. And when He comes by I'll find out how much prophet He is. I'll walk right out in the street, and I'll tell Him something."
E-27 So he's standing there. He happened to get to thinking, "Now, just a minute. You know, if I was too small down there, that crowd will probably go wherever He's going. And I--I don't want nobody hollering when I talk to Him. I want to tell Him so He'll hear me. And them hollering 'Amen,' 'Hallelujah,' and 'Glory to God,' 'Hosanna to the--to the prophet that comes in the Name of the Lord,' oh, now, they'll never hear me, all that noisy bunch. So there's only one thing. There'll be a crowd all around me. And then I--I can't even see Him at all."
So he happened to look, standing on the corner and there was an old familiar sycamore tree. That's a good Indiana tree. So, standing on the corner, he thought, "Well, if I could get up there on that limb and set down, then I'd be up there. Then I could really tell Him when He comes by."
E-28 So he comes running over, and he's too small. He couldn't get up to the limb. So he said, "Well, now, there's only one thing I can do." And there set the--the city garbage can setting on the corner. So he thought, "Well, now, if I go over and get that garbage can, and pick it up, and bring it over here, then I can get the rest of the way up the tree from that. That'll help me."
So he goes over. And the garbage disposal hadn't come by yet that morning; it was pretty heavy. So he was small, and he couldn't pick it up. The only one way to do it, that's wrap his arms around it. And he had on his best garment. So, you know, there's always hindrances when you're trying to see Jesus. But that didn't make any difference whether a good garment or not, he wanted to see Jesus anyhow. So he throwed his arm around the garbage can so he could get it over there. So he scooted it over. And there he had garbage all over him. Well, didn't make any difference; he--he wanted to see Him anyhow.
So, while he was pushing the can over with his arms around it, he heard somebody a-laughing. And he looked around, and if it wasn't Levinski standing there, his competitor, saying, "Well, what do you know. Zacchaeus has got him a new job from his restaurant. He's working for the garbage disposal."
You know, the devil just wants to see what he can do to throw everything in your way that he can, to keep you from seeing Jesus. He'll tell you they're a bunch of holy-rollers. They'll tell you they're a bunch of idiots. He'll say there--there's nothing to them; they're just the poor trash of the city, anything he can do. But if you're determined to see Him, God will make a way for you to see Him. Just keep that in your mind. Something will take place if that hunger begins to break into your heart, something. You'll go see Him anyhow.
So didn't make any difference. Little old face turned red, and he was embarrassed. But he just pushed the can on over anyhow, and got ahold of it, and shinnied up the tree. (That's all right, ain't it? Shinnied? You Southerners know what "shinnied" is. That's climbed up the tree.) Got up the tree. And he got up there, and he found where two limbs come together and met in the trunk of the tree. And there he set down.
Now, that's a good place to sit, where two ways meets: yours and God's, your idea and His. That's a good time to set down and think it over: Your own thoughts about Him, and what His Word says He is; what you think He is, and what the Word says He is; What the message of the hour is to your thinking, and what the message of the hour is to his Word, that's the difference. Set there and think it over a little while.
E-29 No doubt, Satan got on one of his shoulders, said, "You know what? You are a pretty-looking sight, setting up here picking splinters out of your hands, and with your best garment on and it all--garbage all over it. And now your name will be published all through the city. The jokes will be all on you, because look what a rashal thing you have done, setting here." See, Satan... When you make a start then he'll try to tell you you made a error.
There he sat in that condition. Said, "Well, Rebekah said He was a prophet. I'll give Him a trial. I'll see if He's a prophet." Now, he said, "When He comes by here, I'll just disguise myself, and He'll never know I'm up here. First I'll get a look at Him. And then, when I see Him, then I'm going to jump out of this tree. And then I'll go down there and tell Him." Now, said, "Now, if He--if He is a prophet though, as Rebekah said that He was, He might know I was up in this tree, if that's true. So I'll tell you; I'll fix Him up."
So he pulled all the leaves around him and disguised himself all over, so he couldn't be seen, and left one leaf to look out. You know, to see Him as He turned the corner.
E-30 And then, setting there thinking it all over. After while he heard a noise coming around the corner. It's strange. Wherever He's at there's always a lot of noise. You know, noise is a sign of life. See? Remember, the high priest when he dressed and went into the holiest of holies, on the end of his garment he had a pomegranate and a bell. And that noise in the holiest of holies was the only way the waiters knew that he was alive or not. It made a noise. And when there ain't no noise, then might--he might be dead.
I think that's what's a whole lot the matter with our churches today. There's not enough noise about it, not enough enthusiasm, not enough something.
And so, where Jesus is, there's always a noise. One time when He come into Jerusalem, they were screaming and hollering and, "Hosanna to the King that cometh in the Name of the Lord."
And some of those priests standing there said, "Why, make them keep still, hold their peace."
He said, "If they hold their peace, the rocks will cry out." Something has to move when He's around. Notice, and then... Those who believe Him...
E-31 And then he heard this noise a-coming around the corner, and screaming and going on, so he thought, "Well, He must be approaching." So he pulled up his leaf, and raised up to look over. "Now, I've got Him all now. We'll find out how much prophet He is." So when he was setting there with his leaf up, looking, and--and up in this tree, way up above their heads, where they'd pass beneath the tree...
So when he noticed... The first man coming around the corner must've been the apostle Peter, because he was a big, strong, burly sort of a man. I can see him pushing the crowds back, saying, "Friends, I'm sorry, our Master had a great service last night. Much virtue's gone from Him. You all will understand. Would you just stand aside so Master can pass by? Please do that."
And here come Matthew, Mark, and them along. Said, "Now, we--we don't want to be rude. We're--we're not here for that purpose. But our Master's awfully tired, and He hasn't had His breakfast. So we're--we're--we want you to stand aside, if you will."
E-32 There was a--a man standing there, that maybe Zacchaeus took a look at. A few days before that, at one of the meetings at a business place, a doctor had been there and told this little fellow that had a little girl that was real sick of a fever, and she wasn't going to live...?... He'd done all he could do for her.
And Zacchaeus, when he raised his leaf up and looked, he seen this man with this baby wrapped in this blanket coming around the corner. He thought, "What a rashal thing that that father would do, trying to follow that--that so-called prophet. Here he come around the corner with this baby, and it with a fever, and standing out in this wind."
But you know, just as Zacchaeus, when you really believe, there's nothing going to hinder you. You... As he wanted to get that baby to Him. And every time they'd make a corner or change, he'd be pushed back. But he--he was persistent. He was going on. Finally at this corner, the little mother run out with the baby in her arms. And she must've fell down. And she said, "Lord, be merciful to my child." And there stood the father of the baby, crying too, which was a friend to Zacchaeus.
He said, "What's changed his attitude?" So he couldn't make out who the man was yet. He was down in the crowd.
All at once he sees a hand stretch out, and touch over the top of this little blanket. And the little girl was unwrapped, and went skipping down the street. Now, there's got to be something to that, Zacchaeus.
E-33 Finally He come in view. And one look at Him, Zacchaeus had done changed his opinion, just one glimpse of Him. There He was; He didn't look like man. There was something different about Him: meek, gentle, kind. Yet looked like if He'd speak, the world would come to an end. He was a different character from what he had thought. His attitude begin to... All of his starch began to wash out when he seen Him. Comes walking on down the street... He thought, over this little leaf, looking over to see what was taking place. And as He walked, He got right under to where he was. He said, "You know, that man could be a prophet. Maybe Rebekah was right. She might've knowed more about the Scriptures than I did."
So He walked right on down, with His head down, walking along, humble, gentle, as He always did, and the disciples keeping the people out of His way. And as He got there under the tree He stopped. Zacchaeus looking over the leaves, something like that. He looked up in the tree, said, "Zacchaeus, come on down."
Not only did He know he was up in the tree, but He knowed his name was Zacchaeus. He had a lot less trouble getting down out of the tree than he did getting up. He knowed him. The miracle was done on him.
E-34 See? He said, "Lord, I've been wrong. I'm ready to confess I'm wrong. If I've took anything that's wrong, I--I'll pay it back. I'll give half my goods to the poor."
Jesus said, "Today salvation's come to your house."
What changed him? What was the change, brother and sister? Think just for a minute. The change was, he had seen something real. He'd heard all the promises that been made, the priest talking about what was, great prophet Moses, great this, that, or the other, promising a great something in the future, but ignoring what's being done now. That's the way of man.
He saw something genuine, something that he could see himself. The miracle had happened to him. He was that prophet, because He didn't know him. Neither would He ever have seen him up in the tree. But when He got right under the tree, He stopped and looked up, and said, "Zacchaeus, come down. Today salvation's come to your house."
E-35 Brethren, it's the real thing that changes men's mind, changes their attitude. Sometime it's a press, surely, to get to it. But if you'll approach Christ, this morning, with--with the--the thought in your heart that, "I will not be critical. But I'll study the Scripture and see what He was." If He come to the meeting tonight...
Before you come, study and see what He was. Whatever He was, He has to be the same today. His... As I spoke last night, if many of you were there. See? Does God identify Himself by His characteristics? He always must remain that way, because He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. Men's hearts are--are so... A real God-fearing man or woman, businessman, or whatever it is, he's always... There's something in his heart, if there's any God-fear about him, to know something about God.
E-36 Say, I never told you what happened to Zacchaeus. He become a member of the Full Gospel Business Men's chapter of Jericho. See? I want to tell you about him further. You see? Why sure, he wouldn't be nothing else but Full Gospel, of course not. That's all Jesus preached. So he become a member there. You ought to be a member of the same.
Now, notice. But he wanted to see something real, and when he saw something real himself, that was Scripturally identified, then he was ready. It's the real things that amounts.
E-37 Just a little story 'fore closing. How many in here's hunters? Let's see your hands, my brethren in here. Oh, my. I knowed I wasn't alone. So I love to hunt, and I--I used to go up in the north woods up in New Hampshire. It's the home of the white-tail deer. How I love to hunt them. And I used to go up every year. And I had a partner up there named Burt Caul--one of the finest men I ever hunted with. And my nature's always been to the woods. I was born in the woods, and I just seem like I was raised up there. And even my conversion never took it out of me.
Not so much to get the game, but just to be in the woods, I think God is there. To see Him, how He moves, and the nature how it dies, and goes down, and comes back again in resurrection... The sun comes up of a morning, a little baby borned. And then, about nine o'clock it goes to school, and about ten o'clock it's finished. At twelve o'clock it's in its strength. At two o'clock in the afternoon it's getting along about my age. At five o'clock it's eighty years old; it's dying. It goes down. It's served God's purpose. It ain't dead. It'll come the next morning. It's God testifying there is a life, death, burial, resurrection.
Watch them trees out there. Last fall the sap went down into the root before any frost or anything else come. What was it doing? Going down into the grave. What happens then? It comes back again in the spring. It isn't dead. It goes down and lays in the ground, comes back. If it stays up, then the winter will kill it. See? God has... No intelligence of its own sends it down there; it's God's provided way. So it just follows God's provided way: goes down, hides through the winter, comes back again with new life next year, testifying there is a life, death, burial, resurrection. Everywhere is the same thing, God in His great creation testifying of Himself.
E-38 This hunter is a fine shot, a good shot. But he was the most cruelest man I ever met. He--he made fun of me all the time. He shot fawns. Now, not it's wrong to shoot a fawn if the law says so. But... You know Abraham killed a calf and fed it to God. So it wasn't the--the sex, or the size; it's the attitude. He'd shoot them just because it made me feel bad.
And he'd say, "Oh, you're chicken-hearted like the other of them priests. Billy, you'd be a good hunter if it wasn't you was a preacher." And said, "But you're too chicken-hearted. That's the way with them preachers." Said, "They're--they're too chicken-hearted."
And I said, "Burt, you are cruel." He had eyes like a lizard anyhow. And he said... He did, he, like the women try to paint their eyes, you know, up like that.
He said... And he looked over like that, and he said, "You're just chicken-hearted."
So he'd shoot those little fawns, and kill one, let it lay and go right on, get another one, just to make me feel bad.
He said, "I'll get you away from that preaching some of these days."
I said, "Oh, no, Burt. No, no."
E-39 So, one day... I went up there one fall, and it was late. And season had been in about a week, and I was busy. I was state game warden of Indiana and I--I'd been busy, and right in hunting season. So I had to get my vacation. I went up a little late. And those white-tailed deer, if they're ever shot at. You talk about Houdini, and being escape artist, my, he's an amateur to them. And so then, they really stay hid. And it had been moonlight nights, snow on the ground about six inches, good trailing work.
So Burt, when he come down to the cabin where I was at, he said, "Say, Billy, I got a good one this year for you."
And I said, "What?"
Reached down in his pocket, and pulled it out. And he had a little whistle. He'd blow it, and it sound just like a little fawn crying for its mother, the little baby deer, you know, crying for its mother.
I said, "Burt, how cruel can you be?" I said, "You mean... You wouldn't do a thing like that."
He said, "Ha, ha. You chicken-hearted preacher."
E-40 And we went on hunting that day, and we went up over the Jefferson Notch. And you didn't have to worry about him; he knowed how to find his way back. So we climbed up till about noon, and then we'd separate and go one one way, and one the other. And then, if we got our deer, we'd hang him up. And--and then we'd get our horses and go get him.
So we got about eleven o'clock, and we hadn't even seen a track, not one track. All the deer were laying down. They get in the brush, and under the brush piles, and things, where the tops of the trees where the loggers had been. And they would--they would hide and stay away, 'cause they'd been shot at. They were scared.
E-41 About eleven o'clock Burt stopped, set down. There was a little opening about, oh, the size of this building inside, maybe twice this size, a little opening there. And he set down, and he reached back to get, I thought, his--his thermos that he had in his coat. We usually carry a thermos, and have some hot chocolate, because it's got fuel to it, you know, and then--and then, have a sandwich and then we'd separate.
We was getting up high towards timberline, so I thought, maybe, that Burt was going to have his sandwich. So he set down and pulled out this thermos... And I thought he was going to pull it out. And I just set my gun down against the tree and started after mine. But what he was, he was getting that little old whistle out.
So when he got this little whistle out, he blew it. And anyone ever hear a little old baby fawn cry? It's kind of pitiful, anyhow. And when he blew that whistle, to my surprise, right across from him a great big mother doe stood up. Now a doe is a mother deer. So she stood up. There was her big brown eyes and...?... these big ears pointed right up, like that. See, her baby was in trouble.
E-42 And he blew it again, and she looked around. And she walked right out into that opening. Now, that's unusual (Any of you hunters know that.) for a deer to do that. She walked out there. I could see her big eyes. She wasn't standing over twenty yards from me. And I thought "Oh, Burt, you can't do that. And kill that poor precious mother, her looking for her baby, and you deceiving her like that?"
And this whistle had blowed, and she was--she walked out there. And the hunter raised the lever on his .30-06 rifle, and dropped it down. That cocked the gun, you know, with the safety off. And she heard that, and she looked around, and she saw the hunter. Her ears peaked right down. Usually they'd have been gone, and she wouldn't have walked out there in the first place at that time of day.
But you see, she was a mother. There was something in her, she--something genuine, something... She wasn't putting on no show. She was a mother. She was borned a mother, and her baby was in trouble, and that was to her interest.
E-43 And he looked up at me with those lizard-looking eyes, and he grinned. I said, "Burt, don't do it. Don't do it." He just grinned, turned around with that rifle.
Oh, my. He was a dead shot. And I knowed when that scope hair come across her loyal, motherly heart he'd blow it plumb through her. See, she wasn't standing twenty yards--big hundred and eighty grain--hundred and grain mushroom bullet, and there he would just blow her heart plumb through both sides. I thought, "How can you be so cruel as to blow that precious mother's heart out of her, and her seeking her baby? How can you do that, Burt?" I was thinking to myself.
And I seen his arm steady down. I couldn't look at it. I just couldn't do it. I turned my back. I--I couldn't see that, that genuine, loyal mother standing there. She wasn't a hypocrite. She wasn't just putting it on for a sideshow. She was a mother. That's why she was doing it. Death didn't mean nothing to her; the baby was in trouble. She thought more of her baby than she did of her own life. Let the hunter shoot whatever it was. Her loyal heart was beating. Her motherhood, the motherhood in her was calling. Her baby was crying. There was something inside of her, pulsating. It was real.
And how could that cruel hunter blow that loyal heart out? I just couldn't see it. I turned my head. I thought, "Lord God, don't let him do it." I was standing like this. I couldn't hear... I didn't want to hear the gun fire. It was just too much.
And I waited; the gun never fired. And I turned around and looked, and it was going like this. He couldn't do it. He turned around and looked at me, and those big eyes had changed. Tears was running down his cheeks. He looked at me, and his lips quivered. He throwed the gun on the snowbank, and grabbed me by the trouser leg, he said, "Billy, I've had enough of it. Lead me to that Jesus you're talking about."
There on that snowdrift I led him to the Lord Jesus. Why? He saw something real. He'd been in all kinds of churches. He seen something that wasn't put-on. He seen something that was genuine.
E-44 Friends, we might have church rules, and church regulations, and theologies, and everything else, but there's a real genuine Jesus. Let's look to Him just now, as we bow our heads and pray. With your heads bowed, I'd like to ask you a question, and your hearts bowed too. How many in here... Now, to you who profess Christian, and who does not, if a profession is all you have... But how many of you would like to be as much Christian as that deer was a mother, with something so genuine in you that seemed more than your life, or anything that you have?
And you say, may say this, "Brother Branham, I belong to church. I'm a businessman, businesswoman, or whatmore, housewife. But really to be that type of a Christian, that I could lay the whole world aside, stand the criticism or anything, I--I'd like to be as much... I'd like to be in my heart a Christian as that deer was a mother."
With your heads bowed now, and your eyes closed, before God I ask you in Christ's Name, at the ending of the age, would you just put up your hand? I can't make an altar call 'cause there's no room. But just say, "Pray for me, Brother Branham, that I will be the type of a Christian as that deer was a mother." God bless you. Just hands everywhere. "Let me be as much Christian..."
Now, Zacchaeus, when you put your hand up, that shows He's found you. Now, why don't you slide right out of the tree? He'll go home with you today for dinner. He'll stay with you the rest of your days.
E-45 Heavenly Father, we are grateful for the Lord Jesus, His Presence. And we are aware that there's something here that made men and women, some of them's even professed to be Christians for years... But there was... There's something present that calls them even though they be professed, even as Zacchaeus was, but once the touch from Christ... They've lifted their hand as a testimony that something inside of them told them to do it.
Let them know just now that that's Jesus. He was to pass this way this morning, and He has. There was, I guess, some hundred and fifty hands up, Lord. I pray that You'll visit each one, and give to them the reality that it is to be a real Christian. No matter how much the world tries to discourage us, and how much the others try to discourage us, let us know that it's a fight to get there. It's an effort we have to put forth. But when connected with something that's genuine, real, it changes us then.
I pray that You'll change every heart, Lord, and make everyone in Divine Presence at this time, put the Holy Spirit in their life, to be as much Christian as the mother deer was a mother. She was born a mother. And may they be born of the Spirit of God and become a real follower of Jesus Christ.
May they come from their sycamore trees today. Grant it, Lord. May You go home with each one of us, and there abide with us until the time You come to take us to our eternal home. For we ask it in Jesus' Name. Amen.
E-46 Thank you kindly. The Lord bless you. I kept you late. I was supposed to be out of here at ten o'clock. It's ten minutes till eleven. I hope that God takes these few little crude words, and nervous and upset, and feeds them in your heart. Remember, there is something genuine about Christ. God bless you.