For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
It has been questioned whether there can be mentioned one word which is more pathetic than any other. It might be well maintained that this word would be found in our text. What truly and profoundly pathetic pictures are called up before us by the sound of the word, "lost"! It speaks to us of the vessel far out of its track and drifting toward the rocks where it will find its ruin; it speaks of the traveller lost among the mountains, moving toward the precipice over which he is bound to fall and perish; it speaks of the firm whose affairs have been growing serious and have now become desperate, before which there is no other prospect than the closed door and a place in the gazette; and it speaks of the sad story, old as sin but young as yesterday, of one that has been deceived and led astray, over whose character and over whose future the darkest shadows rest. But our text reminds us of -
I. THE LOST WORLD WHICH CHRIST CAME TO SAVE.
1. There was a day in the history of heaven when it was announced that a new world was lost; that a race created in its Divine Maker's image was lost, had departed from the truth and wisdom of God, had left its home in his love, and had wandered away in guilt and wrong.
2. Only God himself could comprehend what that meant; what evil, what sorrow, what error, what darkness of soul, what wretchedness of life, what degradation of character, what death-fulness.
3. But the Son of God determined to restore it; ordered everything in his holy providence that would prepare for his own personal intervention; in due time manifested himself in the flesh, spake, wrought, lived, suffered, died, arose, reascended; left behind him the great work of redemption in all its fulness and fitness - the gospel of the grace of God.
II. THE LOST SOUL WHICH HE IS EVER SEEKING AND SAVING.
1. The sense in which each sinful human soul is lost.
(1) It has lost its way; it is a traveller going in the wrong direction, away from his home toward the perilous precipice.
(2) It has lost its treasure, its heritage; for it has lost its peace, its harmony, its accordance with all those beings to whom it is most nearly and vitally related; it has lost its hopes.
(3) It has lost its worth, its likeness to the Holy One; it has been brought down to folly, to that which is unbeautiful and unworthy.
2. The fact that Christ is seeking it.
(1) He is tenderly interested in every human soul. At all stages in its history. When it is in the far country he is regarding it with infinite compassion and Divine yearning; when the first thought of returning is kindled in the heart and the beginnings of penitence are seen; when there is earnestness which makes toward, but does not amount to, actual repentance (see Mark 10:21); when the soul is seeking its Saviour
(2) He is endeavouring to win it. He is coming to it various approaches, laying a loving hand upon it at many points, addressing it in many tones, returning again and again to it in patient solicitude. "Behold, he stands at the door, and knocks.
(3) Our only possible response. Not, indeed, that we cannot reject and refuse him; we can; it is open to us to do that. But, then, how can we? If we would not be shamefully and guiltily ungrateful, if we would not make his dying and ever-living love to be of no avail to us, if we have any regard for our own present and immortal blessedness, if we would win the prize and enjoy the heritage of eternal life, the only possible response we can make to the seeking Saviour is to open wide the door of our hearts and bid him enter and take full possession of our grateful and loving spirit. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.