What does it mean to be lost?

It’s Monday Grace!

The Bible has a story every parent will understand. In fact, for most of us, it would be a familiar nightmare. For some, it will be a nightmare they lived.

The world in Jesus’ day was wild and rough, but much more family and community-oriented. When the Jews made their yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover or other major feasts, they traveled in groups. Of course, everyone walked. Children who went along would run among the families and have great fun together.

Today, we see parents using leashes with their children because of their fears. (I don’t mock that, we did it when we went to Yellowstone and walked the paths between the hot spots.) In many ways, the dangers are more serious and more present in our day. Kids are so often victims today.

Well, after traveling to the feast and heading home, Mary and Joseph looked around for their twelve-year-old. Jesus was missing. They checked with other families and friends from their town, but no one knew where He was. A full day passed, and the nightmare grew. Finally, Mary and Joseph went back to Jerusalem to find Jesus in the Temple. You can read the account for yourself in Luke 2. Notice what seems like normal parental frustration as Mary speaks to Jesus.

You see, to Mary and Joseph, Jesus was lost. He was not with them, and they wanted Him with them. Jesus didn’t think of Himself as lost, though.

Now, I know that illustration could be distracting, but it seemed less distracting than a story about a lost child. We can understand this from the perspective of Mary and Joseph, even without the rest of the story.

The idea of being lost is important in Scripture and in the gospel message. People who are not part of the kingdom of God, who have not come to God through Jesus, are considered lost. They are apart from God. Separated from the truth and the Way.

And that bothers God. He wants them to be with Him. He calls to them and looks for them. From the beginning, God has called to His people. “Adam, where are you?” It isn’t that God doesn’t know where they are but that they are not where He wants them to be. He wants them with Him.

God loves all people, even the most wicked. He longs for them to come to Him. He is ready and willing to forgive their sins and welcome them into the kingdom. He has never forgotten them. His heart aches for them. He has done all the work, crossed all the bridges, suffered all the sacrifices, for them to come home. Even if they don’t know they are lost, even if they don’t feel lost, they are lost in God’s mind because they are not with Him.

This is not a popular topic these days. People don’t like the idea that some are lost. But understand: this is not a judgment that some are worse than others. This is a perspective from the heart of God. He has no personal relationship with them, and He wants that.

This is the feeling behind the parables of Jesus in Luke 15. The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. The heart of God longs to bring the lost home. The message of the gospel is that the love of God has made certain that the door is wide open to any who will come.

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10

1 Comment

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One response to “What does it mean to be lost?

  1. Pastor Dave, you have a beautiful way with words. I have heard and read many teachings about the gospel of Jesus, but none that make God’s heart for His people come alive like this.

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