Dec 13, 2012, 8:49 AM
matter how long it may take, if we embark on a close, careful and diligent search,
we end up finding whatever we are looking for. We assume therefore, that it has
to do with how well we seek, where we look and the times when we look. In this
generation however, the tendency is that we are so overwhelmed and constrained
by diverse preoccupations that seem to get in the way of devoting ‘prime’ time
to a relentless search for anything.
In the Word of God, in particular the Gospels, our Lord Jesus told us three parables that have to do with searching for our lost belongings and finding them. To this end, He sets the tone for seeking those who are lost. He tells His audience a story that has a hidden meaning, yet even any simpleton can understand.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” (Luke 15:3-6) This parable underlines the necessity of saving just one life from falling into the hands of the evil one and securing him or her from eternal damnation.
As farmers, none in the audience could have claimed ignorance of such circumstances. Each of them could identify with the parable, for it is common occurrence going after one lost sheep, to rescue it from ravenous wolves and danger. It is clear from this parable that our Lord Jesus was teaching that the life of one lost sheep (person) matters against the backdrop of the remaining ninety-nine that are in safe custody.
The sheep owner (our Lord Jesus in this instance) will take it upon himself to search for that one sheep until He finds it. Yes, the emphasis is on one single sheep. It is each individual sheep that will make up the whole flock. Whilst one sheep may not seem to be an important figure, worthy of our consideration, our Lord Jesus has a totally different viewpoint.
He does not underestimate the value of one sheep, so He takes the initial step, unsolicited. Likewise, with regard to the human race, our Lord Jesus considers each a priority in His scheme of things. He says of His sheep that not one will be lost. They may go astray no doubt, but none will be lost. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
The salvation experience is personal. Our Lord Jesus goes after one sheep, not necessarily a flock -- the reason being that each repentant sinner or soul will have to render account of his or her stewardship. No one can answer on our behalf. “So then, each of us will give an account of himself/herself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
It is an established fact that when God calls, He calls you on your own ticket. The purposes for which we may be called vary a great deal. The Pentecost experience in the Upper Room attests to this fact; all who were baptised in the Holy Spirit received their personal ‘coal of fire’ on their tongues individually.
Our Lord Jesus went out of His way to save sinners; a case in point is that one day He suspended every activity in Jerusalem, went across enemy territory in Samaria just to save a Samaritan woman who met Him at the well at midday. This woman had a ‘shortcoming’ that made her unpopular with her women folk. She was despised for her poor choices in life. For this reason, she came to fetch water when the others were not around, just so that they would not be given an opportunity to pick on her or begin to wriggle their tongues.
In the course of their exchanges, our Lord Jesus opened up to the Samaritan woman by requesting for some water to drink; but the woman refused on the grounds that, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9) Jews considered the Samaritans to have sold out to the enemy and therefore had no dealings with them. It was only after the Lord Jesus laid bare her life past life before her that she caved in.
After that revelation, the Samaritan woman, broke every social barrier. She returned home and brought the whole town to the well to meet with the Messiah. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29) As a result of a one- on-one encounter, a repentant sinner, someone that was lost, succeeded in saving a whole town. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” (John 4:29) With one convert a whole multitude came to know the Lord. The highpoint of the account is that our Lord Jesus and his disciples stayed in that town for three days. Awesome!
The Samaritan woman did not have the slight inkling that the encounter was part of God’s plan to save her, and with her, a whole
This Samaritan woman was found by our Lord Jesus. She did not come seeking the Lord; it was just that her curiosity was aroused when the Lord revealed Himself to her. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10) Unfortunately, many look at the Bible with apprehension, others like a story book. No, the Bible is the key to salvation for humanity. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) says the Lord.
Upon reflection, the Samaritan woman would have let such opportunity of a close encounter with the Messiah slip through her fingers unknowingly, because of a lack of insight into the spiritual realm; but for the grace of God. Many, like the Pharisees and Sadducees of those days, look at our Lord Jesus with human lenses, from a human perspective and lose out on His divine mission to save souls. These religious leaders were also in dire need of salvation. Their spiritual blindness was pathetic. They needed to be literally snatched from the hands of the evil one the most.
Do not let this opportunity slip through your hands either. Our Lord Jesus came to save humanity of which you are one. As you do so, ponder on these words: “If you seek Him, He will be found by you ------.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all [other] things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)