(Jesus said) "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10
Long ago, when I was young, I was qualified to be a lifeguard. (And, yes, that was a very long time ago.)
Although I've forgotten much of what I was taught, I do remember one thing: the job of a lifeguard is to ... well ... it's to guard and save lives.
That probably doesn't surprise you. Most normal folks think the foremost duty of a lifeguard is to save lives.
If that's what you believe, you may be surprised to hear how, a few weeks ago, a Florida lifeguard by the name of Tomas Lopez was fired because he had rescued a person from drowning. Lopez was fired because the drowning man was not in the area of the beach that had been assigned to him.
To be fair, the company which had employed Mr. Lopez was pleased he had saved the life of the endangered individual. Even so, his employers felt there were liability issues involved, and Mr. Lopez shouldn't have put the company at risk by going after a drowning man in an area of the beach that wasn't his responsibility.
Does all this sound strange to you? If so, you're not alone. The company's ruling seemed crazy to some other lifeguards, who walked off their jobs in support of Lopez.
Now, here's a question for those of you who think the first job of a lifeguard is to save lives and not watch a beach. Tell me, "What do you think is the prime job of the Savior?"
It is my hope your answer to that question sounded something like this: "The job of a Savior is to offer Himself as the sacrifice that rescues me from my sins." Most certainly it would be logical for you to make that reply. A Savior should save. It's that simple.
Sadly, we live in an age where many wish to rewrite Jesus' job description. There are some who would reduce Jesus to being a teacher, a philosopher, a genie whose only desire is to give them whatever they can imagine. Then there is the growing number of people who like to think of Jesus as someone who sprang from the over-active imagination of some disciples.
Maybe the only answer that can be trusted -- the only answer that counts -- is that which comes from Jesus. He settles the debate by telling us He has come "to seek and save the lost."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks You have saved me, an individual who once was a lost and condemned sinner. In Your Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries