The Great Quest
We’ve been praying for unbelievers this week, focusing primarily on prodigals. They are coming home to Father! Yesterday, we shared three biblical truths to meditate on in order to increase your faith for this. This is how our faith grows - reading, hearing, speaking, and meditating on God’s Word. Today, we will look at five more.
God Is Hungry to Save
While on earth as a flesh-and-blood human being, with very real human appetites and needs, Jesus demonstrated that He would rather save a sinner than eat (see John 4). He went out of His way to minister to a confused, loose-living Samaritan woman, married and divorced five times and currently shacked up with yet another man. Jesus forgave her, put His well of life in her, and introduced her to the Father. Immediately afterward, when encouraged by His disciples to eat, Christ simply said, "I have food to eat that you do not know about" (John 4:32). He was so excited about what happened with this seemingly hopeless lady that He had lost His physical appetite!
She shared her testimony with the village, and many of them believed upon Him because of her words. They asked, and Jesus agreed to stay a couple more days to teach and share with the entire village. “Many more believed because of His word, and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One truly is the Savior of the world”’ (John 4:41-42; NASB).
Jesus hasn’t changed; His favorite thing to do is still rescuing the lost.
Jesus Was Willing to Become Human and Die to Save Us
While fully God, living in heaven, Jesus chose to become human in order to redeem humanity. No one, absolutely no one, could possibly imagine what it entailed for Christ to become human in order to save us. But He loves us so much that He chose to pay this price, rather than have us remain outside His family. When faced with the agony of the Cross, Jesus stayed the course, chosing torture, humiliation, and death rather than angelic deliverance. He could have called upon legions of angels to deliver Him (see Matthew 26:53). His desire to save us was and is so intense that no price or sacrifice was too great. He did this for your loved one! Put a face to the price He paid!
In his book Written in Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor had explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered from two years earlier. Her only chance for recovery was a transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the disease. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.
“‘Would you give your blood to Mary?’ the doctor asked.
“Johnny hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled and said, ‘Sure, for my sister.’
“Soon, the two children were wheeled into the hospital room—Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned.
“As the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny's smile faded. He watched the blood flow through the tube. With the ordeal almost over, his voice, slightly shaky, broke the silence, ‘Doctor, when do I die?’
“Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why his lip had trembled when he'd agreed to donate his blood. He'd thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. In that brief moment, he'd made his selfless decision.”(1)
Johnny didn't have to die to save his sister. This was not the case with Christ. Our condition required Jesus to give, not just his blood, but His life. He did it gladly. That’s how much He loves your prodigal.
God Delights in Showing Mercy
The Lord delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). It isn’t a stretch of God’s righteous nature to give mercy to your prodigal; He delights in doing so! Nineveh was a wicked city whose level of sin reached a point that demanded judgment (Jonah 3:4). However, when the people of Ninevah repented, God delighted in changing the verdict and releasing mercy! His heart hasn’t changed! He’ll be excited to show mercy to your family member or friend, regardless of the level of their sin.
Jesus Came to Seek and Save the Lost
Jesus said He came to seek and to save the lost (see Luke 19:10). Holy and infinite God humbles Himself to seek fallen man. Unfathomable.
I can wrap my finite mind around we humans being told to seek God, but every brain cell goes into overload when told He seeks us. What kind of God does this, pursuing those who hate and reject Him? Where does this incomprehensible love come from? There simply are no words.
God is on a quest. Every day, He looks down the road, waiting for another prodigal to crest the hill. When He sees one, He runs - yes, He RUNS to them - and embraces them even while they’re still covered with slop and mud. Then He restores the prodigal’s inheritance and throws a party saying, “My child is home!” (Luke 15:11-32).
If you’re already dwelling in Papa’s house, be one who daily satisfies His seeking heart! But also believe in His heart for your wayward prodigal. He loves them and will seek them until they’re found!
Our Restoration to God Is the Theme of the Bible!
Think about this: the entire Bible is the story of God's desire to save the fallen human race, and restore them to His family. Genesis brings us very quickly to the Fall - chapter 3. The remainder of the Bible is the story of God’s heart, His quest and plan to redeem the human race. After Adam’s fall, He didn’t run from us; we ran from Him (Genesis 3:8). He’s been chasing us ever since.
“This distorted perception of the unbeliever is well illustrated by the story of a woman driving home alone one evening when she noticed a man in a large truck following her. Growing increasingly fearful, she sped up, trying to lose her pursuer, but it was futile. She then exited the freeway and drove up a main street, but the truck stayed with her, even running red lights to do so.
“In a panic, the woman wheeled into a service station, jumped from her car, and ran inside screaming. The truck driver ran to her car, jerked the back door open, and pulled from the floor behind her seat a man who was hiding there.
“The misguided lady was fleeing from the wrong person. She was running from her savior! The truck driver, perched high enough to see into her back seat, had spied the would-be rapist and was pursuing her to save her, even at his own peril.”(2)
The perspective of unbelievers is distorted. They run from the pursuit of a God who desires to save them from their enemy and the curse of spiritual death. Those of us who know God realize we love Him because He first loved us. When sinners, however, hear of a loving God who wants only their best and died to provide it, they often see instead only the promise of loss and a lack of fulfillment.
God‘s heart is to save. Meditate on, feed your heart, with these truths from yesterday and today. You will soon become fully convinced that the God who seeks and saves, will.
Pray with me:
[Insert the name of your prodigal as we pray.]
Father, satan’s plan to capture us began with him distorting Your heart. He has never stopped. The deceiver paints You as legalistic, mean-spirited, hard to please, one who loves to judge harshly, and who is distant and unapproachable.
You, however, are the essence of good and kindness. Your merciful heart is to redeem, You desire intimacy with us, and You’re always seeking our companionship. Yeshua is the ultimate proof of Your love and compassion. We ask now for Your pursuit of our prodigals to be relentless.
You said we have power to demolish the mindsets satan and sin have planted in unbelievers, and to stop his schemes and plans from succeeding against them (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Therefore, we bind the lies, deceptions, mindsets and beliefs he has ingrained in our prodigals (Matthew 16:18-19). According to Luke 15:17, You can and will bring them to their senses. You will lift the veil from their eyes and shine Your light into the darkness (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). We use Christ’s keys of authority and release this now! (Matthew 16:18-19). We open the door for truth and light to reach them, and close the door to deception (Isaiah 22:22). We have been offered no less by You, Father, and by Your grace and power, we will accept no less! We ask and release these things in Yeshua’s name. Amen.
We decree that prodigals - by the millions - are coming to their senses.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Today’s post was adapted from my book How To Pray For Your Lost Loved Ones, published by Baker Books.
Craig Brian Larson, Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), p. 25.
Ibid., p. 98.