“The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. A highly anticipated Christmas shopping trip to the mall with our kids and my parents took a dramatic turn for the worst as we suddenly realized that Matt, our five-year old, was nowhere to be found. With fears of kidnapping racing through our minds, we split up to search the mall for Matt. My assignment was the parking lot. In the grip of anxiety I made my way through the fresh fallen snow yelling, “Matt, Matt!” I have to tell you that I felt a little foolish. But being embarrassed by hollering in a parking lot was overshadowed by fears for my son and my need to find him.
But, after covering the territory, there was no sign of Matt. More concerned than ever, I went back into the mall to see if anyone else had spotted him. I was hoping beyond hope that either Martie or my mom had found him, but their search had turned up empty as well. Our sense of desperation was hitting new levels when my dad walked around the corner with Matt in hand. Overwhelmed with relief, we asked, “Hey, Dad, where did you find him?”
“At the candy counter,” he replied. “Little Matt had his hands behind his back and his eyes were right up at the level of the candy trays.” He didn’t even realize that he was lost! Nor did he have a clue about the kind of danger he was in.
Later I found myself reflecting on the experience and thinking that Matt reminded me of a lot of people who are without Christ as their Savior. Lost in the candy world of their lives, they have no idea of how lost they are or of the eternal danger they are in.
Today’s Scripture passage is actually the conclusion of the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus had immersed himself in the pursuit of possessions, prosperity, and power. By the world’s standards he was doing okay. Sure, he wasn’t terribly well liked, but he had a sense of purpose, was achieving his goals, and thought he had life pretty well figured out. But, entranced by the “candy” of his own gain, he was flat out lost.
Jesus searched him out! Going out of the way to call him down from his perch in a sycamore tree, Jesus invaded his life, invited Himself over for dinner, and rescued Zacchaeus from the danger of his self-indulgent, selfish, sinful life. When the Pharisees grumbled about Jesus spending time with a tax-collector, Jesus reminded them that His purpose on earth was “to seek and to save what was lost.”
That’s where you and I are before Christ finds us and rescues us. Our preoccupation with the stuff of this world—money, power, sex, comfort, and ease—numbs us to the very real dangers of life without Christ. Without Him we are dangerously lost—and don’t even know it.
Thankfully, a gracious, compassionate God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pursue us, find us, and rescue us. That’s the reality of what we celebrate at Christmastime. And, don’t forget, once we are safely His, He sends us to search for others who are lost in “candy” world. So let’s steer their hearts away from the stuff of this world and help them find the real joy of Christmas.
- Have you recognized your need for Christ and acknowledged that you are lost without Him, or do you find that you are still preoccupied with other things?
- What are some of the dangers for those who are lost without Christ? Take a few minutes to praise God for rescuing you.
- Amazingly, Christ enlists His followers in His mission to “seek and to save” the lost. Who are some people in your life that need to be found by Christ? Take a few minutes to pray for them today and look for an opportunity to lead them to Jesus.