In these last few days of the Advent season let’s take a look at another clear and concise reason why Jesus took on flesh.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
~ Luke 19:10
Luke 19 gives us the account of Jesus meeting the tiny tax collector Zacchaeus. Through the process of Zacchaeus climbing a tree and Jesus spotting him we see a brief conversation unfold. Jesus ends up inviting Himself over to Zacchaeus’ house and his response is one of instant repentance and dependence. He renounces all his defrauding ways and promises restoration for anyone he has harmed.
That’s quite the departure for a man who was the chief tax collector and who had a reputation of being a sinner above anything else. Yet, that is also the illustration of the radical and transforming power that the gospel has in people’s lives. Jesus affirms that moments like these are why He came to earth.
Verse 10 only has 12 words but it is full of the richness of God’s rescue and redemption of us. This small verse has a lot to say about the condition and weakness of man while also demonstrating the lengths God goes to in rescuing His lost sheep. Let’s peer into this double sided picture of the gospel for a moment.
First thing for us to notice is the who that is seeking, chasing and saving. It is Christ who seeks out His wayward sheep. Man is not seeking God at all – he’s too busy chasing after his lust and desires:
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
~ Psalm 14:2-3
Man has no desire or ability to seek God. out. Every bit of the nature of man pushes back against the thought of submitting to God in anyway. Man does not have the desire or the ability to save Himself.
However, the second thing for us to notice here is the great news. Even though man lacks the desire and ability to seek after God – God is seeking after Him. Long before Zacchaeus hopped up in a tree to get a better look at Jesus, Jesus was pursing Him.
Man does not choose God. God chooses man out of his helpless state. Zacchaeus did not invite Christ to His home, Christ invited Himself over. Seen in each of our redemption stories is God’s clear pursuit and choosing of us.
“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
~ Deuteronomy 7:7-8
God chose Israel because He loved them. God chooses Zacchaeus because He loved him. God chose all who rest in Him as Lord out of the love He has for them.
May we as believers celebrate that our King has come to pursue us and save us as we celebrate His Advent.
Take time to thank God for pursuing you even when you were helpless and buried in your sin.