Friday, March 12, 2010

Seeking and Saving

Luke 19:9-10
(9)  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
(10)  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

(9)  εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Σήμερον σωτηρία τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ ἐγένετο, καθότι καὶ αὐτὸς υἱὸς Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν· 
(10)  ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ζητῆσαι καὶ σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.

This comes at the end of the narrative about Zaccheus.  Incidentally, it is ambiguous from the text as to who was the short man.  I don't think it necessarily matters, but I think it's interesting that we let tradition define this and even turn into a song about how Zaccheus was a wee little man.  It probably makes a little more sense to take the "he" and apply it to Zaccheus because that was the antecedent of the "he" in the previous clause.

At any rate, this is one of my favorite passages in the New Testament.  The Son of Man came ζητῆσαι καὶ σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.  I didn't really notice this until just now, but τὸ ἀπολωλός is the name given to the destroyer in Revelation.  The word means "to destroy."  In other words, Jesus came to to seek (ζητῆσα) and to save (σῶσαι) those who are going to be destroyed.  

This is no small thing.  Think back to 9/11 and the heroism of the men and women who ran up those burning buildings to save those who were going to be destroyed.  We remember those folks with reverence, and I believe rightly so.  Jesus did more than that.  He humbled Himself by coming down to earth and taking on a human nature along with His divine nature.  He did that not just to make the lost able to be saved, but to save the lost.  He came to rescue dying sinners.

Incidentally, this is just one more piece of evidence regarding the reality of eternal punishment for those who do not know Jesus.  If you are lost please realize that Jesus came to save you.  Won't you let Him save you from destruction?

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