"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."..."Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." (Luke 19:10) (John 14:15)
Jesus came from the Father, a God of Love for His creation, and was God in the flesh who had a purpose to fulfill His mission. At the age of twelve, when He and His mother and father, Mary and Joseph, were returning home from Jerusalem, they lost sight of their son Jesus. Often caravans traveled in groups for security along the way. The parents may have thought Jesus was in another group but discovered that He was not in the caravan at all. They returned to Jerusalem and found Jesus in the Temple; He was with the teachers asking questions and giving answers. The teachers were amazed by His knowledge of the Scriptures. Mary asked Jesus why He had treated them this way. "And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49)
At the age of thirty-three, Jesus began His ministry at the Synagogue in Nazareth. In the Synagogue, Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18) The prophecy from Isaiah is the mission that Jesus fulfilled until He returned to Jerusalem at thirty-three for the Passover Feast and His crucifixion. "When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem." (Luke 9:51)
The overall plan and purpose of Jesus’ time here in the word was to reconcile all of creation to God through Him. "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven." (Colossians 1:19-20) It would be a true statement that the primary purpose of Jesus was to seek and save the lost who were shepherdess in the world.
Jesus had a lot of conflict with the Jewish Leaders of God’s Chosen people, the Israelite Nation. No righteous Jew would associate with the ordinary sinners of the day. Jesus always went to the sinners to tell them of the coming Kingdom of God. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17) Jesus responded by telling them that He had come to save the lost sinners and not the righteous. Their sinful behavior was not a reason to avoid them but to seek them out. Many times Jesus sought to forgive the very ones who that the self-righteous religious leaders would not associate.
Jesus approached the sinful woman with the alabaster jar. She came into a Pharisee’s home where Jesus was and stood behind Him weeping. She cried tears that landed on the feet of Jesus, and she wiped the tears with her hair and anointed His feet with the alabaster perfume. The Pharisee criticized this action. (Luke 7:38-39) Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Romans collecting their taxes. The Jews despised Matthew, but Jesus called him to be a disciple. "As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's booth; and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him." (Matthew 9:9)
The Pharisees Shunned Jesus for eating with sinners and tax collectors, and all the while He kept reminding them He had come to save the lost sinners. "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32) The purpose of Jesus never changed as he went about saving the lost, and it was a goal that He reached and prayed to the Father on the evening of His crucifixion. "I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do." (John 17:4)
All the four gospels are filled with stories of how Jesus spent His time seeking the lost and calling them to repentance and offering forgiveness of their sin. None who Jesus found we too sinful, too evil to come to Him and receive salvation. Jesus told parables of how people seek that which was lost. He is searching for the lost of mankind. There is the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. (Luke 15:1-10) The story of the prodigal son who came back to his father with a repentant heart. (Luke 15:21-22) To this day Jesus is seeking the lost who would go to Him with a humble faith in Him. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29)
Because the Christian, the follower of Christ, has been freed from the bondage of sin through forgiveness, and because of the joy in their heart, they want to share the good news with all who will receive it. Evangelism is not only our desire, but it is our charge from Jesus before He ascended back to Heaven to be with the Father. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
Faithful Christians should support all those who are willing to go to all parts of the globe, but our mission is not complete until we share the good news with all we meet in our place in the world. Our family, friends, associates, our neighbor, and His mission is now our Mission. We are to submit to His will for our lives allowing Him to live through us as His instruments of the good work.
Our good works do not end with planting the seeds of His word in the hearts of people with ears to hear. The most powerful thing that we can do is humbly pray in intercession for them that God will cause growth. Their seed needs to be watered to help it grow into a secure spiritual maturity. Our mission does not only include evangelism but also to make disciples. We need to duplicate people to go and plant the good seed and make disciples too.
This work is not an effort that we can do alone. The power to change hearts is not ours, but the Lord living through us. We are His hands and feet, His voice crying out in the wilderness. We are citizens of His Kingdom on earth and as such His ambassadors to be the reflection of our Lord.
We need not fear for this is the purpose that He created us to do. Before time began, Jesus planed and prepared the work we are to do. All we need do is be led by His Spirit in obedience to accomplish the good work. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) No matter the difficulty we have the confidence that all we do in His name will work for the good of His plan and purpose for our lives. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
The mission of Jesus was to come amongst men and reconcile the world unto Him for the glory of the Father. He came and gave us the perfect example to follow to accomplish this work as well. As citizens of His Kingdom, we are His representative and share with Him in the mission of reconciliation. He has given each of us the word of reconciliation. "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, August 28, 2019