Seeking, Saving, Serving… If our mission is to be like Jesus Christ, these words supply clear focus and they fully agree with what we’ve seen thus far in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. We are, in fact, seeking the vision and mission of God as we do our 90 day New Testament reading. Matthew presents us with the royalty of Jesus Christ, our King, sent here to seek, save and serve us. Mark presents us with the service of Jesus Christ, our victorious servant Messiah, who gives His life as a ransom for many.
Today we consider Luke’s message of Christ. Leon Morris wrote this in his commentary on Luke’s gospel:
In Luke we see the breadth of the great love of God in the salvation of which Luke writes. The very word salvation is absent from Matthew and Mark and occurs only once in John’s gospel. Luke, however, used the two Greek words for salvation six times in Luke and another seven times in Acts. He also uses the term Savior twice in Luke and twice in Acts, and he uses the verb “to save” more often than any other gospel. I. Howard Marshall says that Luke’s interest in salvation is critical. The idea of salvation supplies the key to the theology of Luke.
Last week we considered how Mark depicts Jesus as “Servant.” Luke’s message shows Jesus as “Savior.”
Luke 19:10 Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Slide: (verse) Say this with me.
One of the things about Luke’s gospel that makes it so attractive is his interest in salvation and God’s love toward the lost and Jesus’ mission to save the lost.
At Jesus’ birth, an angel appeared to shepherds who were watching over their flocks that night. They were terrified. But the angel said: “Fear not! For behold I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all the people! Today, in the city of David, a Savior is born to you. He is Christ, the Lord!”
Slide: (Luke 2:10-11) Isn’t that wonderful news! Say these words with me:
Look at what Simeon said about the baby Jesus when Joseph and Mary took Him to the temple to be circumcised: Luke 2:21-33. Simeon said: My eyes have seen your salvation, which shall be for all people!
Years later when John the Baptist came baptizing: look at what Luke included in the description of John’s ministry: Luke 3:3-6. Luke is the only gospel to include verse 6 which is a quote from Isaiah 40: “And all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
This special focus on Jesus as our Saving Lord commends to us our mission statement of being a saving church as we follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior.
The rest of Luke’s gospel is conditioned with this theme. Luke tells us events from the life of Jesus Christ that are not found in any other gospel but that capitalize on this theme of the saving ministry of Christ.
I’ve selected two stories for our lesson from Luke: 1st Is the sinful woman in Luke 7. 2nd Is the Chief Tax collector in Luke 19.
Both help us discover some of the elements of the saving ministry of Jesus that we are called to imitate in our mission.
Notice how salvation and forgiveness of sins are directly connected with faith and love. Jesus says clearly that whoever loves Him much is forgiven much. This love is expressed in unashamed worship and service to Jesus. Jesus makes it clear also that this kind of faith is a saving faith.
Contrast that with those in John 12:37-43. In Luke, this woman’s love and faith drove her to worship and serve Jesus unashamedly. She was not seeking the praise of men.
Be careful what you love. Beware of where you put your trust and in whom you place your faith. Saving faith and love do not consider whether it is cool in the eyes of others to serve Jesus. Saving faith and love that bring the great blessing of forgiveness from Jesus place serving Him above fear of what others think.
Notice here how salvation is directly connected to generosity and justice. Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, wants to see Jesus, and as it turns out, Jesus wants to see him! Jesus invites himself over to Zacchaeus’s house and the crowds begin to grumble about Jesus going to be the guest of a sinner.
How does Zacchaeus respond? Half my goods I give to the poor! If I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times the amount. This saving ministry of Jesus wasn’t just a “pray me into your heart” moment of emotion. Salvation came to his house, because, like Abraham, Zacchaeus was ready to sacrifice whatever he had to serve Jesus.
Salvation came to this house! Zacchaeus was lost, but when He met Jesus he changed. Jesus has a way of doing that with people. His saving ministry is a life changing ministry.
I hope that in your groups this afternoon you will discuss the saving mission and ministry of Jesus. Reflect on how salvation brings change. Discuss what are the changes that salvation brings.
We need to know how and when we are saved. When and how did the salvation of Christ come to your life?
We need to know what we were saved from. Jesus preached repentance and the kingdom of God. What have you been saved from?
We need to know what we were saved for. When we turn to Jesus Christ from sin, we enter an eternal relationship with Him as Lord and King of our lives. What does my life in Christ look like?