Pursuing the Clarity of the Gospel: Part TwoThursday, July 12, 2012
When Jesus Seeks the Lost, He Will Find Them, and He Will Call Them
One of the greatest enemies of the Jesus-follower is loneliness. The powers of darkness will stop at nothing to unleash a sense of loneliness, small or great, on every believer, usually at some season of their life. Despite the truth of God's omnipresence, it is easy to be in one of the pitfalls of life and fall into discouragement, disparagement, or even depression, due to the seemingly incessant feeling that God is not really there.
That's why reading the Bible is so important. Every word and chapter read is another moment for the Spirit to break in and do what He does best - help and comfort the believer. And especially when reading the gospels, Jesus' love for sinners and His desire to find them anywhere and everywhere He can is quite apparent. This brings hope and fresh faith that Jesus is the same yesterday and today. He is still seeking and saving. He is still finding. He is still calling. He is still here with us. In the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19, I see two truths about Jesus' calling of Zaccheus which give me fresh faith and hope.
First, Jesus knows the location of every sinner He is seeking.
"And when Jesus came to the place…” (v.5)
As we have done throughout this series, as well as the others, taking notice of the little things often provides big encouragements. In this little phrase there is a huge amount of truth we don't want to miss. This is most certainly the case with this phrase because Luke is pointing out that even though Jesus was on a bigger mission, and even though Jericho was simply a pass through point for Him, there was a specific person named Zaccheus in a specific place. Listen to one of the most famous Baptist preachers and theologians of the 1700's here on this point.
"Christ knows where his people are, and where to find them, where they commonly dwell, or where at any time they are, he being omniscient (all-knowing) God…He knows where they are, when the time is come to call them.
"He knew Zacchaeus was in the sycamore tree, just like He saw Nathanael under the fig tree before Philip called him (John 1:48). This is because Jesus Christ comes to the very place where is people are, either in person, as here; and so He came to Galilee, and to the sea there, and walked by it, and on the very spot, where He knew He should meet with Peter, and Andrew, and James, and John, whom He called to follow Him (Matt. 4:13).
"He came to his own city Capernaum, and to the place of receipt of custom near unto it, where Matthew was, and called him (Matt. 9:1) and he came to Samaria, and to Jacob's well, where He knew the woman of Samaria would be at such a time, in order to call her: or, though He comes not in person to others, where they are, yet by His word, and by His Spirit; and He comes to them before they come to Him; and is found of them, and finds them, who sought Him not; and is made manifest to them, who asked not for Him; and in this He acts the part of the good shepherd, that leaves the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and goes after that which is lost till He finds it; and agreeably to His character as a Saviour, and to the end of His coming into the world, which was to call sinners to repentance, and to seek, and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10)” (John Gill).
Second, Jesus knows each sinner by name.
“…he looked up and said to him, 'Zaccheus..." (v.5).
Jesus called Zaccheus by name! And do you know why? Because Zaccheus’ name was written in Jesus’ Book of Life from way back before Jesus even created the world (Rev.13:8)! Don’t miss this, friends! Jesus knows each one of His sheep by name…even before they know HIM by name. He told us as much in John 10:27.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give to them eternal life.”
King Jesus knows you…personally…by name. King David wrote a reflective note about himself in Psalm 139 about the intimate knowledge God had of him, even before he was born.
“You know everything I do; from far away you understand all my thoughts. You see me, whether I am working or resting; you know all my actions. Even before I speak, you already know what I will say. You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding. Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven,you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there. If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me. I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light around me to turn into night, but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day.Darkness and light are the same to you. You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there--- you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began” (Psa. 139:1-16).If Jesus knew David in his mother’s womb, and if Jesus knew Zaccheus by name before ever having met him, then Jesus knows you too. And if you don’t know Him, He can to look for YOU and SAVE you!
And why did He come to save you?
Because He wants your friendship. He wants you to enjoy HIS friendship. In short, He desires fellowship with His creatures, those He loves so very much.
In the next post, we'll discover that when Jesus calls the lost, they must come, and they must do so quickly.
About the Author: Rob is a entrepreneur in Statesboro, GA, where he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 18 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. This is the pursuit of his life, as well as the point of his blog.