In yesterday’s post (which you can read here), I discussed the risk Jesus was willing to take to reclaim the lost sheep he is speaking of in Luke 15:1-7. I raised the question of whether or not our churches would be as willing to take such risks as Jesus was.
The reason Jesus was willing to take such risk was because of the one-hundred sheep, the one that got away was lost. That term “lost” should not go overlooked. In other places throughout the Gospel of Luke this word (apollumi) is used to imply death (cf. 9:24-25; 13:3, 5, 33; 15:17, 24, 32; 17:27, 29, 33: 19:10, 47; 20:16; 21:18).
So here is a reality check for us. Jesus did not come to the earth and suffer death because people were safe. Jesus came because without him, people are dead in their sins and await nothing but judgment from God for their sins. There are some lost sheep out there, sinners whose only hope is the grace of God that offers salvation in Christ.
This is not an easy claim to accept. It is difficult because we live in an age of tolerance. Be that as it may, there are some people who are lost in their sins. We can dialogue all day long about who is a Christian and who is not but that discussion should not obscure the fact that their a some people who are lost.
These are the people for which Jesus is leaving the ninety-nine to reclaim. These are the people in whom Jesus is calling us, his followers, follow him in reclaiming. The fact that they are lost and in need of the gospel ought to propel us into mission. But that is unlikely to happen unless we can accept the fact that they are lost.
Accepting that some people are lost is not easy and it certainly is not pleasant. And “out of sight, out of mind” will not change this fact. But if we would own up to this fact, perhaps we might be more serious about our mission.