Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)
(9) Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. (10) For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
This was a great moment of salvation. Zacchaeus the tax collector turned away from his old way of living and looked to Jesus. I sense the joy in Jesus’ voice as he celebrates this moment. Then Jesus made a very clear statement, the very reason he came to earth was to seek and save the lost!
If this was Jesus’ mission here on earth, shouldn’t it also be ours? So let’s learn from these three words Jesus used here.
As pastors and leaders, a big part of our role is to care for those God has already brought into our world. However we must also have a heart to seek after those who don’t know Jesus yet. We live in Japan where less than 0.3% of the population attend Church. My team and I are always rejoicing with what God has already done but we are also always seeking to reach more hurting, lost people with the love and grace of Jesus. There are too many people in our world for us to ever give up this heart of seeking.
The original word for “save” in the Greek is “sozo”. It has a very rich meaning – forgiveness, restoration, fitting in place, getting ready for a future purpose. Jesus came to do so much more than just forgive us, he was to make us whole, shape us into the person he made us to be, place us in his destiny and ultimately get us ready for an eternity in heaven. This is the desire Jesus has for people and this must be ours also. Our message cannot stop at forgiveness but must continue into all that Jesus has for us.
These are the people we are here to reach. They are not in Gods care, they are on a pathway that ultimate leads to destruction, they need to be saved! Just like in the natural where there are many reasons why someone might be lost, so it is in life. I truly believe many lost people in this world are desperately waiting to hear that there is a better way to live, and whether they know it or not, they are waiting for someone to introduce Jesus to them.
To seek and save the lost is the mission of the Church, what the Church must stay focused on. If it ever just becomes about us, we are in trouble.
So my question to you, how are you and your church continually seeking to reach the lost people in your area?
I pray that we would have the heart of Jesus and that our churches would continue to seek and save the lost through the Gospel of Jesus.