God is always seeking for the lost. He says, “I myself will search for my sheep” (Ezek. 34:11); “…seek me like a lost sheep!” (Ps. 119:176); “I will seek the lost” (Ezek. 34:16); “searching for the straying sheep” (Matt. 18:12); “you will be called, ‘Sought out, a city not forsaken’” (Isa. 62:12); “the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:23); “though they hide on the summit of Carmel I will search them out” (Amos 9:3); “I will search Jerusalem with lamps” (Zeph. 1:12).

In Luke 19, after just four chapters earlier telling the parables of the one lost son of two, the one lost coin of 10 and the one lost sheep of 100, he gives his mission statement: “I have come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). The parables emphasize the one that is lost. It doesn’t matter if there is another son at home, or 9 more coins on the dresser, or 99 more sheep in the field. He wants and will search everything and everywhere until He finds it. God’s heart is for each and every individual in the world. His heart is for me and you. In Matthew 18:14 He says, “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter describes Him as “not wishing any that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” It reminds me of the NMLB acronym. It stands for “No man left behind.” It’s been the motto of the U. S. Rangers, but is also used by firefighters regarding those trapped in a burning building. It’s a commitment to risk one’s own life to reach out and save others. April 30, 1975 was the last day of the RVN (Republic of Vietnam). While on a Navy Destroyer we rescued many who fled for their lives when America withdrew troops. One eye witness wrote, “On the Republic of Vietnam’s final day, as I looked down into the … terrified eyes in the upturned faces of hundreds of Vietnamese nationals and citizens of other countries friendly to the United States, who were being left behind, I knew that I would be haunted for many years to come.”

Jesus’ followers, His Disciples, were given the same commission that Jesus had. In John 20:21 he says, “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” We are always on mission to seek and to save the lost. It’s often referred to as the Great Commission. God calls us all to embrace His mission in the world and make it our own. I like what Bock says in his commentary on Luke regarding this truth. He writes, “Disciples… need absolute commitment. Their mission, even though others grumble at it, is to seek the lost, just as God does. God rejoices in finding lost sinners, so Jesus’ call is to pursue them as one would a lost sheep, a lost coin, or a wayward son. When the lost come, open arms are to await them. Celebration and joy greet them in heaven.”