Jesus loves the lost.
Jesus looks for the lost.
The word lost communicates value and worth.
It communicates that something is not where it belongs, and it is so valuable that it is searched for until it is found, such as a mother searching for a lost child in a crowded mall.
The lost to Jesus are those who are not where they belong, which is a love relationship with God as Father.
Jesus told three stories to communicate how much the lost are loved and how far one will go and what one will do to find the lost.
Story #1: The Story of the Lost Sheep
Story #2: The Story of the Lost Coin
Story #3: The Story of the Lost Son
All were valued (the shepherd valued the sheep, the woman valued the coin, the father valued the son)
All were lost.
All were loved.
All were longed for.
All were looked for.
All were found and returned to where they belonged.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
He came to bring people back into a love relationship with his Father.
That is where they belonged.
Sometimes the word lost may be used to communicate worthlessness, such as a "lost cause".
But not to Jesus.
Lost meant value.
Lost meant people were not in a love relationship with his Father...the God of love.
Jesus told this story because the Pharisees were critical of Jesus spending time with the immoral sinners.
To the Pharisees, they were lost causes, deserving of judgment, eradication from the earth.
The Pharisees hated them.
Jesus loved them, looked for them, and found them.
In the Story of the Lost Son, the older brother of the lost son was angry with the Father because of his great love for the lost, but now found, son.
The older brother in the story represents the Pharisees, the religious leaders who prided themselves on obedience to the Ten Commandments, boasting in their keeping of each commandment.
Yet they broke them all, if not externally, certainly internally.
The younger brother represented the sinners, as the Pharisees liked to call them.
The younger brother represents all of us who have been off in the far country of sin and immorality, not living in relationship with our loving Father.
But Jesus loved us.
The Father loved us.
The Father longed to be in relationship with us.
How far would he go and what would he do to bring us into a relationship with himself?
Jesus came from heaven to earth...then to a cross...where he died for all of our sins.
He paid our sin debt, fully and forever, so we could be reconciled to the Father, which is where we belong.
We were found and entered into a love relationship with our Father.
Maybe someone reading this is lost.
You are not where you belong...in a love relationship with God as your Father.
You are valued.
You are not a lost cause.
You are loved.
Jesus is looking for you.
The Father longs to be in relationship with you.
You can begin this relationship today by trusting in Jesus.