What on Earth is God Doing
A requirement in the English language for the understanding of written words is punctuation. The title of this column might sound a bit disrespectful and really does not convey my point since no punctuation has been used. Give me a moment and I trust you will see the meaning in this title. I am impressed that Jesus’ statement; “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” needs only one form of punctuation, a period. Think just a moment of the scope of this tremendous statement. The Lord Jesus uses just a few words, and yet with them He unfolds His Person, His Plan, His Passion, and His Promise, and follows it with an emphatic period.
The mention of this title, “The Son of Man,” enables Jesus to quickly tell all who will listen that He is the One promised to be sent by God, the Messiah. Anyone who had knowledge of God’s Word would recall Daniel’s prophecy linking the title Son of Man with the coming Messiah. So combining mentions of the Messiah in the Old Testament they must immediately understand that He is claiming to be the eternal Son come from Heaven, Emmanuel – God with us; The Savior of the World.
I would like to examine what the extent is of His word “Seek.” Could it be illustrated by a merchant man who found a pearl he desired and went and sold all that he had to buy it, or by a shepherd who lost one sheep and went after it until he found it? Both illustrations clearly show that the result was in view, and that no obstacle would prevent the culmination of the task. The heart of this Man Jesus is here revealed, He would not be deterred until He comes into contact with this individual. Zacchaeus might have even believed that Jesus came from Heaven to this tree in the city of Jericho to seek him. Every thought a person has regarding his sin or of God or eternity is directed by a God who is seeking to bestow endless blessings – salvation to that individual.
It should be pointed out that the action, “To Save,” could not be a glib statement of the saving of a soul and a life from all its sin, a careless easy task. Only Jesus could fully comprehend what it would entail for Him for this to be fully realized – “To Save.” He came from Heaven, from eternal existence as God; He was made in the likeness of man. But more, much more was required by God; the problem of man’s sin against God, your sin, my sin, must be addressed. This plan called for the Messiah (the Savior), to be wounded for transgression, bruised for iniquity. It called for Calvary. But I must quickly be sure all understand that the transgression and iniquities were not His own since He never did sin or, in fact, since He never could sin – He is God. What He accomplished and finished at Calvary was full payment to God sufficient for the sins of the whole world.
In His statement Jesus used a qualifier – “That which was lost.” This is the most welcome news anyone who is lost could ever hear. If you are lost he came to seek and to save those who are lost. It would be difficult to know all that Zacchaeus understood from the Lord’s statement, but I am confident that he could not begin to know the fullness of it, but simply said to himself “He said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.” He took the Lord Jesus Christ at His word and, as Jesus stated, that very day he was saved. I recall the night I sought salvation from my sins and eternal punishment in hell. Finally admitting, “I am lost,” immediately the reality of the words of a hymn illuminated my mind and soul.
“There as my surety He firmly stood,
Paid for my ransom His precious blood,
Died for my sin to bring me to God.
Jesus died for me!”
Taking God by faith at His Word I was saved. If you are lost, you, like Zacchaeus and many others since then, can be saved by applying this grand text by faith to yourself. My point is – What, on earth, was God doing? – “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”