I have always thought one of the more impressive and important things our Lord ever uttered is recorded in Luke 17:10. Here he says:
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
It is the last sentence in what is attributed by Luke to our Lord that I find the verse that has sustained my thinking for many years now. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus is the seeker. We hear a lot about seekers, and so we should. But we must not forget who the real seeker is—Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord. He seeks for the lost!
St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan (339-397) writes: “As in Paradise, God walks in the Scripture, seeking man.”
And Peter Taylor Forsyth (1848-1921), an all too little-known Protestant theologian of immense importance, adds, “The Word of God is in the Bible like the soul is in the body.”
The fundamentalist pays too little attention to the historical formation and literary forms of the Bible by defending it in an unnecessary and fruitless way. When this is done the Bible becomes the center of a debate. Ambrose and Forsyth, Catholic and Protestant, both agree—the Bible is powerful precisely because it fulfills its purpose, namely to reveal Christ to us through divine revelation. The human form of words, and the interpretation of those words in a literalistic manner, is not the primary issue. The primary issue is the purpose of Scripture. This is true with everything under heaven. We ask, “What is the purpose of this or that?”
The purpose of Scripture is to reveal the seeking Christ to lost mankind. Pick the book up and read it, not for debate and polemics but rather to see Christ. It will transform you if you read it the right way. As Ambrose said God is walking in these pages “seeking man.”