December 1: A Search and Save Mission

The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

LUKE 19:10

In this season of the year, we focus on the meaning of the coming of the Son of God into the world. And the spirit of our celebration should be the spirit in which he came. And the spirit of that coming is summed up in Luke 19:10: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The coming of Jesus was a search-and-save mission. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Christmas is a season for thinking about the mission of God to seek and to save lost people from the wrath to come. God raised him from the dead, “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). It’s a season for cherishing and worshiping this characteristic of God—that he is a searching and saving God, that he is a God on a mission, that he is not aloof or passive or indecisive. He is never in the maintenance mode, coasting or drifting. He is sending, pursuing, searching, saving. That’s the meaning of Christmas.

The book of Acts is a celebration of this Christmas heart of God’s—on the move to seek and to save the lost. It’s a narration of Jesus’s ongoing arrival into the lives of more and more peoples of the world. Acts is the story of how the early church understood the words, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). It’s the story of how the vertical arrival of God in the mission of Jesus bends out and becomes the horizontal arrival of Jesus in the mission of the church. In us.

Jesus came into the world at the first Christmas, and every Christmas since is a reminder of his continual arrival into more and more lives. And that arrival is, in fact, our arrival - our coming, our moving into the lives of those around us and into the peoples of the world.