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Did you know that experts say that we have 7 seconds to make a good first impression.  That first 7 seconds can determine what people will think of us from that point on.  7 seconds is not very long!

I first met my current pastor, and boss, and friend when he  spoke at a conference at my church in Dunedin.  On the Sunday night there was a massive combined churches event in the town hall and I remember going forward for prayer and Peter prayed for me.   I was getting massively touched by God and having an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit when these two elderly ladies came up and started praying unusually for me.  Now back in the days I was quite an alternative grunge dresser so was probably wearing lots of black and ripped jeans and I remember having this cool hair style that night where I had put my hair in like 30 pigtails then wound them round and round to make like mini buns all over my head.  I also had lots of ear rings and a nose ring.  And so they were trying to cast a few things out of me.  That I didn’t have.  I was on fire for Jesus and was a youth leader at my church.  But they judged me on my appearance and judged me as demon possessed.  Peter tried to come to my rescue and then they unusually prayed for him too…. Yikes!  Talk about first impressions!

 

In Luke 7 we read about a woman who couldn’t shake her first impression.

 

Luke 7:37-39 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

 

Her name is never recorded but she is labelled a sinful woman.  She is identified by her issue.  She is known by her reputation.

The host of the party looked with his natural eyes.  He looked and saw a sinful woman – he judged, he condemned, he isolated, he rejected.

Jesus however saw so much more.  He saw a woman forgiven.  A woman free.  A woman worshipping.  A woman prophetically anointing him for burial.  A woman grateful.

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I want to tell you a story about someone short.  I can identify.  I mean I have to say I’m real happy there are some new year 7s in here because me and Mikayla are no longer the shortest people here!

 

Anyway my story is about this short guy called Zacchaeus.

Now they say that good things come in small packages but that was so not true about Zacchaeus.  He was the chief tax collector in his area and made a living ripping people off.  People didn’t like him very much and defriended him on facebook and didn’t invite him to their parties or out to McDs for a frozen coke.

Anyway he heard that Jesus was in town and for some reason just kinda felt like he should go and see him.  Like everyone else in his town.

Now short people problems here.   No matter where he stood he couldn’t see.   And people wouldn’t move to make way for him.  So he ran ahead and climbed a tree beside so he could see Jesus.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

 

Did you catch that.  Jesus was walking by the tree, looked up and called Zacchaeus by name.

In the crowd Jesus saw this short guy.  He picked him out.  He knew His name.

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