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Who Are “the Lost”?

( [email protected] ) Nov 12, 2007 03:57 PM EST

Luke 19:1-10

Zaccheus Converted

1He (A)entered Jericho and was passing through.

2And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich.

3Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.

4So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a (B)sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.

5When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."

6And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.

7When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."

8Zaccheus stopped and said to (C)the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have (D)defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back (E)four times as much."

9And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is (F)a son of Abraham.

10"For (G)the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Zaccheus worked as chief tax collector for the Roman government. His profession caused him to be despised by his fellow Jews. When Jesus sought him out and asked to visit his home, the crowd was dismayed— the Lord was associating with one whose conduct made him a sinner in their eyes. The Savior responded, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

The word lost is a biblical term used to describe the spiritual situation of everyone who has yet to receive Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. In this state, a person is separated from God—there is physical life but no spiritual connection to the heavenly Father. In that condition, the mind is blind to the truth of God. Lost doesn’t have to do with physical location; it speaks instead of spiritual deadness (Ephesians 2:1).

Man’s sinfulness was established through the disobedient action of the first human being—Adam. When he supported Eve’s plan and disobeyed God, his nature became one of rebellion, and all future generations have inherited his sin nature. We are born into this world with a nature bent away from God (Romans 5:12).

Zaccheus was a sinner because of his lost condition, not because of his greedy profession. Good behavior doesn’t make us a Christian, nor does bad conduct disqualify us. The tax collector received salvation through faith in Jesus. When we receive Christ as Savior, we, like Zaccheus, are no longer lost; we are made spiritually alive. Hallelujah!

Used with permission