Fervent Prayer: Missions/Seeking the Lost
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost” Luke 19:10
In Luke 19 is the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who wanted see who Jesus was and climbed up a tree to do that. Jesus stops at the tree and tells Zacchaeus that he must come to Zacchaeus’ house today. Those who were around observed this and stated “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” Zacchaeus responds by “repenting” of the way he was cheating others through his tax collecting and states “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus responds by saying, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”
Before this, in Luke chapter 16 it states “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathered around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” Jesus responds by telling 3 parables, the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Each of the parables end with rejoicing because what was lost was found, “…I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk 15:10).
These stories show us God’s heart for seeking those who are lost. In Jesus’ first coming, he was sent by the Father to do just that and complete a mission of not only teaching us who God is and what His kingdom is like but also to be the long-awaited Savior who could reverse the curse of sin for fallen humanity. Through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, he became the atoning sacrifice for our sins and made a way possible for us to be redeemed children of our Creator God.
But the story does not end there. With those very first disciples he birthed the church which was given the same mission to seek the lost in the world and proclaim the good news of what he has done for us. After his resurrection and shortly before his ascension back to heaven he charges the disciples with this mission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20). Also in John’s gospel “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (Jn 20:21-22). Our God is a missional God who continues to send his messengers into His fallen creation to bring the good news of His mercy upon us through the sacrifice of His own son which redeems us and allows for our adoption back into His family. This continues to be our mission today. The question is will we be obedient to follow His commands to make disciples of all nations and be used as instruments in His hands? Along with Paul we must ask “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Rom 10:14-15. Lord, let us be instruments in your hands to bring your message to the lost!