For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. –Luke 19:10 (NASB)
This simple statement has to be one of the deepest truths known in the universe. The Son of Man, Deity incarnate, came to earth not just to seek that which was lost but also to save that which was lost. And what was lost? Mankind was lost.
There are a few elements that set Christianity apart from all other religions, and this is one of them. God took it upon himself to enter our world, become one of us, and drag us out of this world and into his. This is the exact inverse of what the natural mind would expect. While other religions spur men to take it upon themselves to enter God’s world, Christianity rejoices at the fact that God has entered ours and delivers us into his.
As startling as this may be, there was no other option. A lost man does not even know where he is, much less where God is. It is easier to grasp water with the hand than for a natural man to seek and find God. If God and man are to be united, it can only be through God seeking and finding man.
Those who have spent time in the wilderness know that the most important thing is to remain aware of one’s location. If a man becomes lost yet refuses to acknowledge it, he has no hope of getting un-lost. The same is true on the spiritual level. When the scribes and Pharisees grumbled at Jesus for eating with sinners and tax collectors, Jesus responded by saying, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). The “righteous” were just as lost as the sinners and tax collectors. They just didn’t know it. The sinners and tax collectors knew who they were, and they knew what they needed.
Christians live in the interesting situation of having been found, forgiven, and legally justified through the life and work of Jesus Christ, yet our need of a physician persists. Fortunately, we remain in the care of the Great Physician. He has begun his work in us, but he is not finished. We remain just as dependent on him today as when we were lost in the wilderness. We knew what we needed then. Do we know what we need today? Sometimes, the simple Sunday school answer is the right answer.