Summary: Are you utterly lost? Worthless? Useless? Boy, oh boy...do YOU have help on the way!
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
A husband and wife are on a long trip in their car. For a long while there is silence, as she dozes in and out and he watches the road.
Finally, it occurs to her that he seems to be watching the road signs more intently, and occasionally slows down at cross roads for a better look.
She turns to look at him and says, “You’re lost, aren’t you?”
Of course her husband denies being lost, but a few minutes later he pulls over at a rest stop, and when his wife comes back to the car from the facilities she sees him studying a road map.
“You ARE lost!” She exclaims. “Why don’t you ask one of these truckers for directions? THEY know where they’re going.”
With irritation in his tone, as he roughly folds the map, he declares, “I am NOT lost! I think the next town is just an hour or so up the road; I’ll get my bearings then.”
Well, I can’t say I have the whole thing entirely figured out, but I do have a theory about the difference between men and women that makes this sort of conflict so common among us, that comedians can use it as a theme for a whole line of jokes and be sure to get laughter.
Are you ready? Maybe it is that women, when they are not sure how to get where they want to go, feel lost; While men, the great hunters, will not admit they are lost until they no longer know how to get back to where they started!
This is offered, not in hope of curing the problem of men not asking directions (that ain‘t gonna happen), but to illustrate the condition of all mankind (men and women alike) before God.
When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he became LOST. Romans 5 tells us that death spread to all men through Adam’s sin, because all of mankind was in Adam’s loins when he sinned.
Since that day, not only have men not known how to get where they WANT to go (Heaven), but they can’t even get back to where they came from (right standing with God).
The Bible says, “all have sinned and come short of God’s glory”.
Let’s focus more sharply on this ‘lost’ condition for a moment. First, men are lost in their very nature. From birth, we are lost and need a Savior.
It is not only those who have committed wicked acts that are lost.
There is only one other place in the Gospels where it is recorded that Jesus uttered the phrase that is today‘s text; it is in Matthew 18.
Jesus takes a small child and stands that child before His hearers, saying that those who come to God must come in child-like faith, then says, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost”. Even little children owe their salvation to Jesus when He takes them home in infancy.
Not only are we lost by nature, we are lost by our acts.
It is one thing to say we’re lost because of Adam’s sin; and maybe that could be refuted if that was all we had to go by. But our sinful nature is EXPRESSED in sinful acts.
Our members become the instruments that carry out what comes from within.
You don’t have to teach a child to steal cookies from the cookie jar; you have to teach him NOT to.
Laws are not written for those who have no tendency to do wrong; they are there to restrict our natural inclinations to selfishness and greed and hatred and bigotry, and keep some kind of order in a society of sinful men. The evil we see around us only proves the potential for evil in ourselves.
Not only are we lost, we are incapable of helping ourselves...unable even to get back to the state of Adam before the Fall.
During the time that I was in Bible college there was a story on the news about a little girl, who lived with her mother in an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. One afternoon the toddler was missing, so a search began. Someone finally thought to check the shaft of an elevator that had not been working properly, and cones had been set up to warn that it was out of service. When they looked into the shaft, they could see the crushed little body of the girl, between the elevator car and the shaft wall. She had apparently pushed a button that had set the car in motion, but the door had not closed and her frilly dress had been caught in the works, which dragged her between the car and the wall until it jammed to a stop.