Advent Reflection #8: The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10)

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:10

The Gospel reveals that we spend our time on the wrong questions.  And if we don’t ask the right questions, we’ll never receive the right answers.  Jesus’ declaration in Luke 19:10 demonstrates that 2 of our most common questions are upside-down, backwards, inside-out, and just plain wrong.

1.  “Am I lost?”.  Jesus says that He has come to seek and to save “the lost.”  I ask, “Am I lost?”  But, according to Jesus, this is the wrong question.  If we’re to understand the Gospel, the right question is not, “Do I think I am lost?” but “Does God think I am lost?”  Lost, according to whom?  The answer is not found in the labyrinth of subjective, self-justifying introspection, but in objective historical events:  the conception, birth, God-honoring life, sin-bearing death, and resurrection of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.  What matters is not whether I think I am lost, but whether God thinks I am lost.  The sending of His Son–the Incarnation as the beachhead–is God’s answer to that question.

2.  “How am I to seek God?”.  Jesus says that “the Son of Man came to seekthe lost.”  In other words, the message of Christianity is not the news of a way for man to seek God, but the announcement that God Himself has come to seek man, through the ministry of His Son Jesus Christ.  The Gospel identifies God as the great and only genuine Seeker in history.  I ask, “What must I do to seek God?”.  But according to Jesus in Luke 19:10, the right question to ask–and to marvel over–is “What has God done to seek me, a sinner?”  He has sent His Son.  He has sent His Son to seek us.  He has sent His Son to save us.  And the Son has come.  The Son has come to seek us.  The Son has come to save us.  “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4–5).

May God grant that, this Christmas, we’ll learn to ask the right questions, and to rejoice over how God has answered them in Christ!

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