Search for the Lost


Lenae Bulthuis gives examples and explains how Jesus carefully searched for the lost then rejoiced once they were found.

Ezekiel said, “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.” -Ezekiel 34:11

There are a number of ways to look for something. One is the way my husband looks for small items in the refrigerator. He squares himself in front of the open door, hoping it will jump out at him. A much more aggressive way to search is how my daughter looks for lost car keys or her cell phone. In a word, it’s intense.

And then there’s the way of Jesus. No one searches for the lost like Jesus. This is why He came! He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Sadly, it was a mission He needed to defend to those who should have been shepherding the sheep!

The religious leaders of the day were like the ones Ezekiel prophesied to when he said, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them” (Ezekiel 34:2, 6).

When the Pharisees and teachers of the law saw Jesus welcoming and eating with sinners, they criticized; Jesus cared. They ostracized the outcast; Jesus opened His arms and welcomed them to the table. They muttered about the lost; Jesus made it clear that they mattered to Him by telling three “lost” parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15).

Within each parable is a pattern: 1. An item is lost. 2. A careful search is made. 3. The item is found. 4. There is great rejoicing!

How like the gospel message! A sinner is lost. Jesus carefully searches until the lost is found, and then heaven explodes with joy over the one who repents! Jesus leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. He turns the place upside down until the lost is found, and throws a party for each person who comes home!

How do you search for the lost?

When Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, He became one of them, so the Pharisees said. Of course, Jesus was not a sinner but truly a friend eating with friends, whether they were believers or not. He knew His presence of love and acceptance at the table would eventually transform their lives. -Devi Titus
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