The experience of being lost
Perhaps you took the wrong exit off of the expressway on which you were traveling and found yourself and your family in an unfamiliar neighborhood of a city with no clear directions as to how to get back on the expressway. There were people and businesses around, but the atmosphere wasn’t exactly friendly, so you didn’t feel like stopping and asking for some help. Or perhaps you failed to get back to your campsite before it got dark and you found yourself on a narrow path in the middle of a forest full of strange noises without a flashlight or a sleeping bag. Or perhaps you were home, but your family had become broken by your divorce, your job was no longer satisfying, none of your friends were helpful, and everything appeared to be somewhat strange and you didn’t know where to go to be comfortable and safe again.
Or this experience may be like that of realizing that the ticket (your plan) to paradise (place where you dreams would be fulfilled) that you had in your pocket (mind) was no longer valid (working) by the carrier jet (means of achieving your dreams) who had promised to take you to a place of great joy and pleasure, and the second carrier bus (your plan B) on which you had been placed to continue your journey had broken down (wasn’t working either) and left you in a strange place (of unfamiliar circumstance), and the family in which you belonged was no longer around you, and the friends with whom you had been traveling had all been seduced away by the pleasures of the different neighborhood (culture and environment) in which you found yourself, and you realized that you were all alone, far from home (where you felt safe), in a dangerous place, confused with no clear idea or plan as to how to get out of your situation, because you were really lost.
Becoming lost can be a frightening experience. You feel alone, confused, anxious, and depressed. You may turn to some familiar addictions like alcohol or drugs or sex to stimulate some good feelings. You may get a new religion or a new lover or a new wardrobe or some new friends or a new communication device or a new job to try to find some sanctuary from your feelings and your strange situation. Eventually you may realize that these efforts are not working, but now you are lost and unsure of what to do or where to go for help.
Jesus comments about some things and a person who was “lost”
At one point during his public ministry in Jerusalem where he was trying to explain to the crowds that followed him and some of the lawyers and Pharisees and scribes of the Jewish people who it was that he was seeking to reach in what he was doing and teaching, some of the Pharisees and scribes were critical of him because he associated with “sinners”. In response to their criticism, Jesus told three parables. The first one was about a “sheep” that became “lost”. (Luke 15:3-7) The second parable was about a silver “coin” that a woman “lost” in her “house”. (vss. 8- 10) And the third parable was about a “son” who left his home and became “lost”. (vss. 11-32) In each case what was “lost” was “found” with much “joy”, and even a big celebration was held for the “son” who returned home. Jesus used these parables as well as other comments to make the point that he came into this world “to seek and to save the lost”. (Luke 19:10) So Jesus recognizes the crisis of a person being “lost” and the importance of being “found or otherwise returning to one’s “home”.
The “lost” whom Jesus is seeking
The individuals that Jesus are seeking to lead back home are not those who have gotten lost in a strange neighborhood or a big forest or even in a house that was no longer a home. He is seeking those who are spiritually separated from God, the Father, who are spiritually living away from the family of God’s Son and God’s children, who are following a seductive leader who is known as “the devil”, and who are living in a confused attitude of personal sinful self indulgences and willing rebellion against God. Such individuals may be religious and accept various religious labels as part of their personal identifications. They may be familiar with Jesus and God, the Father, and even have read parts of the Bible and be active in some church or synagogue or mosque. They may consider themselves to be good, decent, law-abiding citizens of any established civil society anywhere in the world. They may be of any ethic and racial background that is part of humanity. But they are spiritually lost, separated from God, traveling through life on a wide road of self-indulgent pleasure and popular philosophy that will only take them to hell, a place of everlasting separation from God and personal suffering in their souls. Anyone who is not living in a personal spiritual relationship with God through the indwelling presence of Jesus and the transforming power of God’s Spirit is lost, unable to experience God’s grace and providential love and to share in the daily blessings of life in his family.
Jesus can lead you to your home with God
If you are willing to acknowledge that you are “lost” and willing to trust Jesus to lead you “home”, he will do that. You will need to give up trying to go through life in accord with your own self-serving desires and abilities in a rebellious attitude against God and humbly turn to Jesus, accepting his offer to save you and to become your Lord and master. If you are wondering why you must have Jesus do this for you, I invite you to read this statement “Why Jesus?” on this website. When you repent of your sinful attitude and efforts against God and accept and trust Jesus to save you, you will find yourself at “home” with God your Father and your Savior and Lord Jesus, his Son, and their Spirit will be with you and in you and will lead and guide you through the remaining days of your life on this earth until they welcome you into heaven where you will spend eternity in your personal relationship with them and your “saved” “brothers” and “sisters” in God’s family and a host of angels. You will find a plan for turning to Jesus in this statement “The Plan of Salvation” on this website.
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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.