I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed the enigmatic TV series ‘Lost’. I’m not sure I understood it all – it lost me at times! However, it was a good title as ‘lost’ accurately describes the precarious situation the survivors of the air-crash find themselves in, trapped on a strange island.
Of course, in these days of satellite navigation systems and Google Maps it’s actually a lot harder to get lost. If you do find yourself in that unfortunate situation, all you have to do is resort to asking for help from a passer by: “Please can you help me – I’m lost!”
Losing something or someone
Rather than being lost though, it’s losing something important like a wallet or phone which is more our modern-day experience. Or in these days of computers, it might be accidentally deleting an important file or the hard-disk crashing losing all your work. You just pray that you backed up the file so that it can be recovered later!
And, all these kind of losses pale into insignificance when compared to the personal loss of losing a loved one.
The Gospels cover this full range of human experience of ‘lostness’: we have the loss and recovery of sheep, coins, eyesight, health and even the people who are dead only to be restored to life!
What the Bible means by the word ‘lost’, though, is broader than this: the Greek word translated lost in the New Testament is apollymi and it means not only ‘lost’ but also ‘destroyed’, ‘spoiled’, ‘perished’, ‘ruined’ or simply ‘broken’.
The human condition – lost
The Bible describes our fallen sinful human condition as being lost. Indeed, there are only two camps: you are either lost or you are saved!
1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that (lost) perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
But the good news is that Jesus came to save the lost! He came to rescue people who are perishing and broken. Of course, being saved is the exact opposite of this: it’s being healed, restored, forgiven, repaired, and safe!
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Moreover, God has absolutely no desire to see any one of us perish or be lost but rather to come to repentance, or a ‘change of mind’.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
This last verse is interesting, because the parable we’re going to look at in Luke 15, and what this book is mostly about, is remarkably about precisely those two concepts.
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