Tonight, we are blessed by another entry from my brother in Christ and good friend, Joe Widick of Lebanon, Tennessee. Please keep me in your prayers as I'm returning to the US today!
June 14, 1969 a family was changed forever. It was the day after Elaine and I were married. We were spending our honeymoon in east Tennessee. On the news we heard the story of a seven year old boy who was separated from his family in the Great Smokey Mountains. At that point of the story, we just assumed that the little boy, Dennis Miller would be found and that all would end well. The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months and little Dennis was never found. He simply disappeared. At the height of the search there were over fourteen hundred searchers. I wish the story had had a different outcome. I wish I could have seen the headline “Lost Boy Found.” It never happened.
In the Bible there is a story of a type of “search and rescue” of a different nature. In Luke 19:1-10 is the account of Jesus passing through Jericho. It is much more than a story that has been made into a children’s song. It is a story of our savior on a mission to find one that is lost. To be able to rescue one that did not know the way. As he is going through the city a rich tax collector climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of the miracle-working teacher. This encounter with Jesus was far from being a coincidence. We know that when we get to the end of the story and see the words that Luke deliberately included that Jesus spoke to Zacchaeus. “Today salvation has come to this house…; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” ( Luke 19:9-10). Sounds like Jesus came to Jericho on a purpose which was to search for those who are lost and then to rescue them. Jesus began His search-and-rescue operation on earth by His perfect life, followed by his sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. He continues that effort today as He sends you and I out to seek those who are lost. He has graciously invited us to participate with Him by loving those who are lost. It is interesting to note that Zacchaeus was not high on the popularity list in Jericho. As a matter of fact, he probably had many enemies in the town. He had cheated the people through the years of their hard earned income. Yet Jesus made his way to this man’s home. It was Zacchaeus who was rescued for his sins and given another chance in life to live for God. Not all stories end the way we would like for them to. The events in Jericho of a search and rescue mission ended in a positive manner as Zaccaeus learns what it is that the Master wants him to do. I wish the story of Dennis Miller had had a happy ending. More importantly I wish that more and more people would join the “search and rescue” efforts at Maple Hill as we strive to let the lost know of the wonderful love of Jesus. Who better to rescue those lost in sin than those who have been rescued from sin.
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