While reading through the gospels this winter, I made a startling discovery.
Jesus didn’t come to save everyone. Let me explain.
The Exclusive Gospel
Growing up, I was taught that salvation is for everyone, and truly it is. Each of us have an equal opportunity to receive eternal life from God. But while reading through the gospels recently, something new jumped out at me.
Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Matthew 15:24 “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Jesus came specifically to save lost people.
Some might argue, “Yes, but we all are lost before we know Jesus.”
True. But I think Jesus was saying something else.
Jesus came specifically for people who KNEW they were lost.
Throughout all four gospels, we see Jesus butting heads with the goody-two-shoes, churchy people (the Pharisees).
They didn’t like Him. His teachings went against everything they believed. Or so they thought.
What they didn’t understand is that Jesus came to bring fullness and revelation to the law they so dutifully abided.
The Pharisees were infuriated with Jesus. How dare He?! They were the holy leaders of Israel! Of course, they weren’t lost!
“What do you mean, Jesus, that the swindlers and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of us?! We worship and serve in the temple!” (Matthew 21:31)
Can’t you just picture their reddening faces and bulging eyes?
I imagine Jesus giving a clam and nonchalant reply.
“John was a prophet who came to show you the way of righteousness.” He looks them in the eye and points to His chest. “I am that way. You didn’t believe John,” He shrugs His shoulders, “but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.” (Matthew 21:32)
Are We Lost
Whether hiking in the woods or driving through city streets, people who know they are lost look for a way out.
Some of us ask for directions, others look at maps, and some try to find the right way on their own. But the goal is the same: we’re searching for the right way.
When we don’t know we are lost, we have no reason to look for a way out. It doesn’t even cross our minds to seek help or ask for answers.
Jesus tried to show the Pharisees their dilemma, but they wouldn’t hear it.
If we don’t accept the fact we are lost, it is next to impossible to be convinced that we should follow someone who claims to know the way.
Jesus came for searching people, people who knew they didn’t have the right way or the right answer.
Who are we? Just because we have chosen to follow Jesus on the path to salvation doesn’t mean that we don’t still wander from that narrow road. Every day is a choice to humbly seek His direction. Will we? Or will we cling to our own beliefs and ways, not even realizing that we are lost?