Seeking, Saving, Serving…
We have heard these three words a lot over the last couple weeks, and I am sure we will hear them a few more times before the end of March.
Why? Why are those three words so important? They are a simple and concise way to paint a portrait. Those three words help us see Jesus and the church clearer. They will help us focus as we read through the New Testament.
Did those three simple words align with the message of the gospels according Matthew and Mark? What about in Luke?
I applaud your diligence in reading the New Testament in 90 days! Keep it up! God will bless you!
Remember, we are listening to the voice of God. This congregation is trying to understand the vision and mission of God.
As we read through Matthew together, we saw the royalty of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. He is our King sent from heaven to earth in order to seek, save, and serve. The gospel of Mark shows us a servant leader. Jesus is the victorious servant Messiah. Jesus is the Son of Man who gives his life as a ransom for many.
Now we come to Luke. What did you see Jesus doing in the gospel of Luke? Was he seeking? Was he saving? Was he serving?
In Matthew we see a king. In Mark we see a servant. In Luke we find a SAVIOR.
From Morris’ commentary…
Salvation is a core theme in Luke. The word “salvation” is absent from Matthew and Mark; it only occurs once in John! Luke uses the Greek word for salvation throughout the gospel of Luke and in Acts. Luke’s interest in salvation is critical. The idea of salvation is the key that unlocks the words of Luke’s gospel.
When you come in contact with Jesus, you come in contact with a king, a servant, and a savior.
Think about the word “attractive” with me for a moment. Is Jesus attractive? Is there anything attractive about him? If so, what? Which side of Jesus is the most attractive to you? Is it King Jesus? What about the servant Jesus? What about the savior Jesus? Is the idea of a savior attractive to you?
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Now, I want you to think about “first impressions” – how does Luke introduce Jesus?
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Do you remember a man named Simeon in your reading? He was a man in Jerusalem waiting to see the consolation of Israel. Do you remember what Simeon did and said when Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple?
And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.”
Think about those words, “my eyes have seen your salvation.”
When the angels, shepherds, and Simeon saw Jesus, they saw a savior. Years later, as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, Luke records a prophecy from Isaiah chapter 40; do your remember the words of that prophecy? It is in Luke chapter three:
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Verse six is important!! Luke is the only gospel to include it. Read it again…
“All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Do you find salvation attractive? Is the salvation of God attractive?
We will look at (2) stories from Luke as we close out this lesson.
The first story comes from the seventh chapter of Luke’s gospel. There are (3) main characters – a Pharisee named Simon, a sinful woman, and Jesus.
As you read this story with me, think about how Simon and the sinful woman interact with Jesus.
READ LUKE 7:36-50
Now, let us compare and contrast Simon and the sinful woman.
Were they both interested in Jesus?
Yes. Simon invited Jesus to eat with him. The sinful woman heard Jesus was there and made her way into Simon’s house. There was something about Jesus that was attractive to both of them.
How did they interact with Jesus?
Simon sat back and simply watched how Jesus behaved. He was curious to see what Jesus would say and do. Simon was a little judgmental and critical of Jesus’ behavior towards the sinful woman.
The sinful woman stood behind him. She wept in his presence. She was crying. This woman washed his feet with her tears and hair. She kissed his feet. The sinful woman anointed his feet with ointment.
After Jesus told the story of the two debtors, he made his own observations about Simon and the sinful woman. Simon did not wash Jesus’ feet. Simon made no attempt to kiss Jesus. Simon did not anoint Jesus with oil.
She was forgiven much and she loved much. He was forgiven little and loved little.
Pay attention to verse 50, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The second story comes from the nineteenth chapter of Luke. Here there are (2) main characters – Jesus and Zacchaeus. There is also a crowd. Once again, think about how people interact with Jesus.
READ Luke 19:1-10
Were they interested in Jesus?
Yes. There was a crowd gathered to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was determined to Jesus. Despite being too short to see Jesus in the crowd, he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree so that he could catch a glimpse of Jesus.
How did they interact with Jesus?
Zacchaeus joyfully received Jesus. He immediately makes two decisions in the presence of Jesus. First, Zacchaeus says he will give half of his goods to the poor. Then he thinks about all the people he has defrauded; he decides to give back four times as much to the people he has robbed. When Zacchaeus meets Jesus, he acknowledges what he has done wrong and decides to make it right.
When the crowd saw Jesus’ behavior towards Zacchaeus. They were judgmental and critical.
Pay attention to verse 9, “Today salvation has come to this house.”
Luke offers us a wonderful character study in these two stories. If you are honest, you will see yourself clearly…
When you are face-to-face with the SAVIOR, how will you respond?
Crowd mentality – curiosity and judgmental criticism
Self-righteous Pharisee – curiosity, judgmental criticism, and little love
Sinner – curiosity, tears, submission, confession, and change
One more word to ponder for a moment…
I want you to think about the word “ambivalence” – do you know what it means?
Here is a definition from Merriam-Webster:
- simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings toward an object, person, or action
- continual fluctuation
3.uncertainty as to which approach to follow
I believe that spiritual ambivalence is a heavy weight that anchors our souls to the deepest and darkest depths of hell.
Coming into contact with a true king is an amazing and awe-inspiring experience. It peaks our sense curiosity and wonder.
Coming into contact with a true servant is an amazing and gratifying experience. We walk away feeling soothed and blessed.
Coming into contact with the SAVIOR is an amazing experience marked by true vulnerability and change.
In last few weeks you have met Jesus. You have come in face-to-face contact with him – the king, the servant, and the savior.
Ambivalence is not an option.
Are you attracted to him? If so, what is it that attracts you to Jesus? His royalty? His servant-hood?
What about the fact that he is the savior of all mankind?
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Jesus has defeated sin and death. He has saved us from an eternity of separation from God. He saved us from the fiery inferno we call hell.
Ambivalence is not an option.
As we close, remember the words of Paul to the Ephesians and to the Romans…
READ Ephesians 2:1-10
When you come in contact with the savior, change happens.
Today, there is a call for change! You have met the savior. Ambivalence is not an option!
I plead with you to follow in the footsteps of the Zacchaeus and the sinful woman.
READ Romans 6:1-11