THE PURSUIT OF JESUS
Jesus told them this story, “If a man has hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will shout joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” Luke 15:3-6 NLT
Our society craves sameness. Equality. Carbon copy.
Jesus sees the individual and cares, loves and chases after the one. He calls us each by name – His pet name for each of us. This continues even after we put our belief in Him. Because we are so prone to wander.
Jesus does not condemn, He loves. He leaves the flock and chases down the one – not to point a finger, but to pick up in His warm embrace and hold it close to His chest.
In this world we will encounter trouble. Jesus addressed this with His disciples when He was with them on His last night –
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1
Troubled. Agitated. Boiling water. The fierceness of the waves crashing the shore. There is anguish in these words and Jesus was not only recognizing them but He provided the way out, the solution, the Answer.
Belief that He will be with us in the storm and He will chase us because we took off while the storm was raging.
I’ve run in my past. I am not proud of it, but, there you have it. I have given up, walked away, and tried to hide. Pain does that to you.
And our enemy loves to pull a single sheep away so he can torment, mock, humiliate, taunt, cause doubt and injure it. Ever noticed how a single animal in the wild gets captured? Not that I watch animal shows, I just can’t, but the little I have seen does demonstrate the schemes and plans of the attacking animal to the weak loner.
Our enemy forgets Jesus is on hot pursuit as well – not to torment but to love and bring unto Himself.
Have you ever participated in a mass evangelistic crusade? As in Billy Graham or Harvest? These are great, don’t get me wrong. But the organizers of these events know the importance of follow up for the masses of people who come forward. Those masses are made up of individuals. And each individual needs one-on-one discipleship.
We need connection one person at a time. I love being in a group of people laughing, but I love sitting across from a single face. There is something about sharing at that deep level and being heard and understood by one.
Jesus does that. He gives us His undivided attention for our individual needs. He does not broad-brush our lives with what the masses needs, even though salvation is for all. Jesus sees our needs. My needs. Your needs. He sees you.
Jesus spent the majority of His time on earth with the boys – 12 men who would one day rock the world because they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, Jesus was in crowds and crowds followed Him, but He lived life with this rag-tag group of men. And even within that, there were 3. Picture the intimate chats around the fire at night. The walks along the wayside. The laughter of an inside joke. Yes, I believe Jesus had a sense of humor and had inside jokes. He became flesh and moved into our neighborhood (John 1:14) – that’s what it means. He became one of us, yet without sin.
He was able to identify with as individuals, as ones who have a name, quirks, doubts, struggles, and triumphs. He looked deep into the eyes of each disciple and connected.
He spoke up and called out. There's woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:21-43). She was minimalized for 12 years. She spent all she had and was worse. Her only hope was walking in her hometown and she decided she had nothing to lose and everything to gain. She risked more rejection because by law she was not to intermingle with society – and it had been 12 long years.
She assembled in the crowd, she came up from behind, but then she did a bold thing. She reached out and touched the hem of His garment. Oh, what a brave thing to do. She did not just bump into Jesus, nor was she jostling alongside Him. She intentionally reached out and grabbed something of His. She became an individual at that point. Society had lumped her into the unclean lot and kept her there. Jesus changed that.
But He kept looking around to see who had done it. Mark 5:32
Jesus knew full well who had touched Him. His disciples were shocked because in their minds the crowds were too great to single anyone out. But Jesus was determined to find the one. Jesus paused His mission at this point to give her individuality, uniqueness, a place. She was seen and heard. She started from behind Jesus, but He turned around to find and acknowledge her.
Oh, what a blessed moment. And Jesus rejoices over finding over the one.
Are you lost in an ocean of the masses? Do you feel unheard? Are you lonely in a crowded room? Do you feel like an assembly line person just taking up space? Have you lost your uniqueness or listened to the lie that you don’t matter?
That’s just it. Those are lies. Jesus does not leave the one for the 99, He goes after the one who is lonely, lost and without a voice or face. He sees the one while the world is still so focused on the masses. He pauses to look into the eyes of His beloved child while the world is so concerned about causing us to blend in, be like everyone else and destroy the individual.
It's ok to be different. It’s ok to be the one in the crowd that stands out with unique giftings. It’s ok to be embraced and thrown up onto the shoulders of Jesus. Rest there and be with Jesus.
Be thankful to be found.
O Father, how majestic is Your Name! How glorious are You. Thank You for sending Your Son so He could pursue me. I am so unworthy of this abundant love. I am happy beyond limits to be found by You. In the Name of the Shepherd Who Finds, Jesus. AMEN