Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

God’s purpose for Jesus

Luke 19v10 “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”(NIV)

It was probably this Thursday or Friday that Jesus makes the 1200m climb from Jericho to Jerusalem – a distance of 18 miles. It is clear that as he does so, he knows that he is going towards his suffering and death: “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be turned over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18v31). How did Jesus feel as he made that climb? What was going through his mind?

But as he walks through Jericho, he takes the time to spend a day with Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who cheated people into paying more than they should to line his own pockets. He was not popular. But as Jesus spent time with this man, Zacchaeus was transformed. His greed fell away and was replaced with generosity.  On seeing his change of attitude, Jesus says “Today salvation has come to this house.” (19v9) What wonderful words for Jesus to speak over a person and their house, “You are now saved.”

Jesus continues with the verse quoted at the start, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” In this statement Jesus is expressing his deepest desire, his deepest purpose. While Jesus knew the suffering would be a struggle, Jesus also knew that his whole purpose lay in going through this struggle so that the lost could be saved. But that endgame purpose was also applicable in the here and now. It was therefore an integral part of Jesus’ purpose to spend time with the lost man, Zacchaeus.

As Jesus kept his God-given purpose and mission in focus at all times, let us also keep in focus the mission that God has given to us. Today it may mean moving forwards towards a goal, or it may mean stopping still to spend some time with someone who is lost: whichever, the purpose is the same.

With love and blessing,