Jesus was a man on a mission. He was looking for the lost to bring them salvation (Luke 19:10). That would appear to be a noble focus, but not everyone agreed. We repeatedly see Him in conflict with the hierarchy of the covenant people of God. It is a curiosity that His harshest critics were the religious elite.
Sinners appear to be more comfortable with the Son of God than those who should have embraced Him. Throughout the ages, the Lord had provided for them spiritually and materially. Their existence was forged in centuries of enslavement, and their liberation came through a miraculous series of plagues. Led by an old man with a stick they came through the Red Sea to freedom. Then they faltered. After all that they had seen and experienced, they did not have adequate faith to take the land that God had promised. So, they wandered for four decades.
They had considerable history to draw upon. The Israelites knew the ups and downs of obedience and rebellion, trust and doubt. The Lord had communicated with them through His law and the prophets. He had entrusted them with His message and covenant, and they had squandered those blessings. The Savior came, and He was largely rejected (John 1:11-13). It is a dark world, and light that bright was not welcome. In fact, it is hated (John 3:19-20). He came anyway.
He knew He was stepping into a hostile environment. Sin had been distorting the world ever since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. We cannot reject paradise and expect it to end well. Turning away from the word of God begins a downward spiral into antagonism aimed at Lord and His people. His Son would feel the brunt of that like no one else ever will. His eyes were wide open. Searching for the lost was taking Him into enemy territory, and that is never a pleasant venture. He came anyway.
Condemnation was not His agenda. Sinners deserve it, but He came with a totally different purpose in mind. Love does that. It changes goals and the means by which they are achieved. Love stirred God’s heart (John 3:16). He sent His unique Son who invested fully in the mission. He sacrificed the glory for the gory to bring grace and truth to a mostly-disinterested world. They didn’t care. The same could be said for much of humanity today. He came anyway. It was to human rejection, hostility and a brutal execution that He came. It was the Father’s plan to look for and deliver sinners from slavery to freedom. He cooperated and gave up everything to give us life through His death. Following in his footsteps will take us into the same darkness seeking the lost, not to condemn but with the good news of salvation through Christ. It may not be pleasant, but we go anyway. He did.