Jesus has a heart for lost people! Many times throughout the gospels we see stories of Jesus going out of his way to reach a lost person. On one occasion, when he was in the presence of some people of questionable character, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were quick to whisper about the scandal of it! — “How can this man hang out with those people?! Doesn’t he know they’re sinners?” (Side note — we are all sinners!)
Jesus answers them with the Parable of the Lost Sheep. (Luke 15:1-7) The point of the parable was clear. When a shepherd loses one of their sheep, they don’t just shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh, well! I’ve still got all these other sheep. I don’t care about the one I lost.” On the contrary! They leave the rest of the sheep safe in the fold and go out looking for the one that is lost. Jesus said that the reason he came was to seek and save the lost.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10
His message for lost people was clear. He declared to them that he was the way, the truth and the life and that no one could come to the Father except through him. (John 14:6) He warned them to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life, not the wide gate that leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14) He told them that choosing to follow him would cost them. (Luke 14:25-33) And he promised them that if they trusted in him, they need not be troubled. That he would go and prepare a place for them and one day return so that they could always be with them. (John 14:1-3) Jesus also had a message for the self-righteous Pharisees. He let them know that there was more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:7)
Jesus loves lost people. He died for lost people. Every one of us was once lost and it was because of his grace alone that we were saved, through faith. (Ephesians 2:8) As followers of Jesus, we should have the same heart for lost people as he does. We should eagerly share the amazing truth of the gospel with them so that they can believe and be saved. We should pray that God will soften their hearts to receive the message and repent. Then we should celebrate with heaven when they do!
Before Jesus ascended into heaven after his resurrection, he gave us clear instructions about reaching the lost.
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:16
Those are our marching orders!