December 12, 2011 • By Ed Wrather
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.” - Matthew 18:11-13 NKJV.
It was several years ago now that I first encountered Big Daddy the cat. He was hanging around our house, and at that time we had a cat outside. Big Daddy would eat our cat's food and so I tried to scare him away. I threw rocks at him. I yelled at him. I chased him. I shot at him with a sling shot and a BB gun. But he kept coming back. Big Daddy was a big (larger than any cat I had seen before), solid white cat, and you could tell that he had been in a lot of fights; one ear had been damaged, and he was just scary to look at.
It took about three years before Big Daddy was able to tame me. He was able to tame me because I grew tired of trying chase him off, and so I finally let him eat our cat's food. Before long he was up on our bench on our back porch waiting to be fed every night. One night I risked his tearing my hand off and petted him, he liked it and made some kind of noise. He apparently had been someone's pet in the past, and just wanted some human attention. This lasted for a few months until he stopped showing up at night, and now I am sorry that I didn't get to know Big Daddy sooner than I did. He was just a big baby in a scary cat's body!
The illustration that Jesus gives of a shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to find one that is lost, gives us an idea of the lengths that God will go to so that the lost person might come to know Jesus. Our Lord is persistent. He is persistent much like Big Daddy was persistent in his pursuit of me. We try to scare away the Son of Man, but He doesn't leave. We try to act like He's not there, but He doesn't leave. We flee from His presence like Jonah tried to do, but He follows us, He pursues us. He woos us (John 6:44 “draws” us). Jesus says in John 6:44 NKJV, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This word “draws” comes from the Greek word “Helcuo.” Other verses where this word is used translates it as drag or dragged. The picture is almost one of God dragging us kicking and screaming to salvation. In the end, we have a choice. However, if we choose to reject God, our rejection of God is not based on any lack of God's exertion or effort at “taming” us.
We have the example of the Son of Man coming to seek and save the lost. What are we to do who know Jesus as our Savior? Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23).” As believers, we should follow the example of our Lord. We should go to great lengths to win the lost to the Lord. They will try to chase us away. They will try to scare us. They will try to act like we are not there, but we must not give up. We must keep on, no matter how many times they reject us. We must keep on until finally they have been “tamed” and know the Lord as their personal Savior.