Living as a Representative of Jesus
Think back to the last time you received an Amber Alert. A child went missing, a confirmed abduction took place, and a detailed description was sent out to a variety of outlets. During the search, the parents are frantic, police officers are tirelessly following up on leads, and they recruit literally everyone in the area to help. These emergencies are communicated as far as technology can reach -– through radio stations, alerts on TV, text messages and electronic billboards, our social media feeds, and even our map apps. It is universally undisputed that a child’s life is precious, so everyone is willing to do anything to make sure the lost child is found.
This is an extreme example, but it’s also a real-life example of how God sees every unbeliever in the world. Because these are his kids -– his treasured creation -– and they are lost. They’ve listened to the lies of the enemy and have run away from their Father. And, as a result, they have sunk further into the darkness of their sinful nature – and their very lives and eternity is at stake.
So, when Luke describes how the Pharisees were complaining about Jesus receiving and associating with such sinful people, the translation goes even deeper to mean that he was eagerly awaiting them –- even earnestly looking for them.
In Jesus’ response, we see this clearly: Just like a shepherd leaving his ninety-nine sheep in search of the one lost one, Jesus is pursuing his lost creation. Just like a woman lights a lamp and sweeps her entire house in an effort to look for a lost coin, God’s eyes range across the earth, searching for every sinner, eagerly hoping they’ll return. Just like a father longs to see his lost son, God eagerly awaits us to come to our senses and return home.
And just like with an Amber Alert, he’s recruited our help and called us to engage in the search and go after the lost. Every person’s life and eternity is precious in the eyes of the Father, and he is asking us to take up his mission and do anything to make sure the lost is found.
Who are those people in your life who are lost in the eyes of God? How can you join in the search and invite them back into God’s presence?
As we think about these people who we love who are far from God, may this be our prayer:
“Lord, I know your heart is for these men and women to return to you. You’re eagerly awaiting their status to change from lost to found, and I also realize you’ve enlisted my help. Not because you need my help, but because this is the purest of all pursuits –- and you are faithful to form me into your likeness. So, fill my heart with a passion to join you in your mission to reach others in Christ’s name.”