Luke, chapter 19, tells of a day when Jesus entered Jericho, surrounded by crowds of people. As Jesus made His way into that town, a short man named Zacchaeus, in an effort to see Jesus, climbed up into a sycamore tree. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus up in the tree, He told him to come down so that He could stay at Zacchaeus’ house that day. Now, Zacchaeus was a tax collector and some in the crowd began to grumble in self-righteousness over the fact that Jesus was going to be a guest in the house of a “sinner.” But Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house despite this, and it was at the home of a tax collector, a sinner, that Jesus said that He, the Son of Man, had come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:1-10).
Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus sought out those whose sin separated them from God. He sought out the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the adulterers, all those who needed Him the most. He did this because they were lost in their sin. From the time that sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God has been seeking and saving those who are lost, which is all of mankind. We are all lost and dead in our sin and so God sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, into the world to seek us and save us from our sin. God wants us to be found.
In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), when the prodigal son is left with nothing after having thrown away his inheritance on reckless living, he returns to his father’s home. Now repentant, he decides to seek his father’s forgiveness and mercy. When he does, the father is filled with great joy because this son who was dead in his sin is now alive again, he was lost and is now found. The father is so joyful that he throws a celebration.
God sent Jesus to seek us when we were dead in our sin, when we were lost. When we repent and accept Jesus as Savior, we receive the gift of salvation that God offers us. When we receive that gift, we are no longer dead in our sin, we are no longer lost, but found. And, like the father of the prodigal son, our heavenly Father is filled with joy when we are found and there is much rejoicing in heaven (Luke 15:10).