"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” (Luke 19:10).
I love this verse. Jesus clearly states why he gave up the place of glory he had occupied from all eternity to take on humanity and die a criminal's humiliating death on a Roman gibbet. It was literally an excruciating death...the word "excruciate" meaning "out of crucifying". And he did it for "the lost."
The text comes from a proto-typical encounter of Jesus. Heading toward Jerusalem, and the events of the Passion Week, Jesus passed through Jericho. Crowds lined the road, making it impossible for a vertically-challenged tax-collector named Zacchaeus to see him. Zacchaeus used the same ingenuity that made him a rich Jewish man in a Roman occupied Israel to see Jesus. He climbed a tree!
You probably know the rest of the story. Jesus comes to the tree, stops, looks up at Zach, and invites himself to lunch. Zacchaeus was so overwhelmed by the love and acceptance shown by Jesus that he gave half of his wealth away and returned twice the amount required by Jewish Law to anyone he had cheated.
As was often the case during Jesus' life, the culturally "righteous" were insensed that Jesus liked to hang out with the Zacchaeuses of the world. But I'm thrilled. If Jesus came for the righteous, I would have really been lost. But since he came for the lost, I'm found.
Zacchaeus not only gave up his wealth. He gave up his career. You might not know it, but Zacchaeus became a serious follower of Jesus, and when the apostolic movement planted the church in the Roman city of Caesarea, Zacchaeus became its first Bishop!
Feeling lost today? I've got some good news. Jesus still comes to seek and save men and women just like you and me. How about putting a "Z" on your hand today to remind you of Zach and how much Jesus loves you!