9 “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
These two verses at the end of the account of Zacchaeus provide insight into Christ’s purpose for coming to us in the flesh, but not in the way we might expect. Jesus says He came to “seek and to save the lost,” but He did not seek out Zacchaeus—Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus.
The word translated “seek” in both verses 3 and 10 is the same word in Greek. Even in the parables leading up to this account, others were coming to Jesus—infants were being brought to Him (18:15-17), the rich young ruler came to Him (18:18-30), and the blind beggar called out to Him (18:35-43). So how is Jesus seeking and saving the lost?
Maybe this echoes John 13:34-35, the new commandment Jesus gave at the beginning of the upper room discourse. He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” We will be known by how we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus has an attractiveness the world cannot explain, and our faithful living witness to Him shows that same beauty. Our witness is our life; nothing we can do to “spruce it up” will substitute for authentic faith.
I do not know that we usually see Christianity in this light. Often Christianity is reduced to a worldview, a set of ideas that passively underpins our thoughts and actions, a competing “truth” in the marketplace of ideas. But when we reduce it to something like a worldview, we strip it of the life within. Christians understand truth not merely as a collection of knowledge, or a right and coherent understanding of our experiences of the world, although those are aspects of our faith. Truth is a person, and one day those who are saved will give Truth a hug!
The way we seek the lost for Christ to save should reveal the nature of Jesus. We should live an authentic Christian life in community with our fellow believers, a life so distinct and appealing to those the Spirit prompts, that they will come to us seeking what we have.
That is really hard. The temptation is to use clever marketing or attraction techniques to draw people in, which is much easier and gives us an illusion of control. In my experience, what draws people in is what keeps them in, and if we draw people into the church with anything other than Christ, we do disservice to them and to our Lord.
May we live as Christ, and may our lives display a Hope and Truth that is only found in Him.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How is your personal walk? Before we can reflect God, we must be earnestly following Him ourselves. Are you walking daily in Scripture study, prayer and repentance? Are you serving the body in whatever way you are called to serve?
- How is your life reflecting Christ? Is it noticeable to those around you, both those who believe and those who do not?
Pray for global workers in South Asia. More unreached unengaged people (who have never heard and have no access to hear the gospel) live in South Asia than anywhere else in the world. The need for the gospel can seem overwhelming—pray for perseverance and wisdom for sent global workers and indigenous believers.