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The Coming of the Son of Man

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The Coming of the Son of Man

10 minuten leestijd

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Rev. J. Van Haaren (1933-1983)

We encounter the Lord Jesus nearby Jericho. Many have come out of the city to see Him up close and to hear this Prophet, mighty in words and deeds. Among them is a man named Zacchaeus who is chief among the publicans. Because he is little of stature and the crowds are large, he climbs up into a sycamore tree so that in this way he might catch a glimpse of Jesus. How great is his astonishment when Jesus does not pass by but stops under the tree into which he has climbed. What thoughts go through his mind when Jesus calls out to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.”

We read that he hasted and came down and received Him joyfully. He could not resist Christ’s seeking love. How clearly the fruits of true conversion become visible in him. There is joy in heaven regarding this sinner who comes to himself. The Pharisees, however, begin to murmur. They cannot understand that Christ is gone in to a sinful man to abide there with him. That the Lord concerns Himself with that which is lost is a thorn in their side. However, if the Lord would not concern Himself with those who are lost, who then could be saved? Is that not what makes the gospel such a joyful tiding, that the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost? How the unspeakable love of Christ shines forth in these words!

Christ gives Himself a remarkable name in this text. He calls Himself “the Son of man.” It is a name which points to above as well as to below, for “Son” points to above, and “man” points to below. He is Immanuel, God revealed in the flesh. God Himself has come upon this earth in the form of a servant and has become equal to His brethren in all things, except sin. Certainly, He was also sent, sent from the Father. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” However, that is not what our meditation is about at this time. Here it is seen that the coming in the flesh was a voluntary action of the Son. In order to save sinners, He was willing to leave the throne of His glory and to come upon this sin-cursed earth. Who can possibly comprehend such love?

The Son of man has come unasked for; none of those lost ones has ever asked to be saved. He has come to those who have never asked for Him as if He needed them instead of their needing Him. That a poor person comes to a rich person to ask for help can be understood, but here a rich One comes to a poor person to make him rich. Truly it is unspeakable love which manifests itself here. He who is complete in Himself bows down to lost ones; the Almighty becomes a helpless babe, the rich One becomes poor. He has said farewell to the angels and turned Himself to His enemies, not to pay them just a quick visit but to dwell among them.

After the angels sang their song above the fields of Ephrata, they returned to heaven, but Christ remained behind in Bethlehem’s manger. He chose the shame of the cross above the glory of heaven. How much He must have loved the good pleasure of the Father, that He was willing to give Himself to open a way so that sinners could be saved. Yea, He loved lost ones more than His own life. He would rather give up His heavenly glory than that lost ones should perish. What a loving word, therefore, that He came to seek and save that which was lost.


After the angels sang their song above the fields of Ephrata, they returned to heaven, but Christ remained behind in Bethlehem’s manger. He chose the shame of the cross above the glory of heaven. How much He must have loved the good pleasure of the Father, that He was willing to give Himself to open a way so that sinners could be saved. Yea, He loved lost ones more than His own life. He would rather give up His heavenly glory than that lost ones should perish.


How meaningful is the word lost. It pictures our misery, for what is lost is no more; that has been written off. For such there is no longer any expectation. Is that not the case with all of us? We are not going lost; we are lost. We lie lost in sin and iniquity from the moment of our conception. Our lost state is so deep that it is impossible for us to deliver ourselves from it. We sink deeper and deeper into our lost state, and unless the Lord would prevent it, we will soon open our eyes in eternal condemnation. Our lost condition is so great that in and of ourselves we will never take refuge in Him who came to seek and to save that which was lost. What a wonder it is, therefore, that He does not wait until people come to Him but that He goes out to seek them. Have you, through grace, already become an object of His seeking love?

The Son of man seeks that which is lost. He sought Levi and called him away from the custom house. He sought Zacchaeus who was sitting in a sycamore tree, and He sought the woman of Samaria; yea, He even sought the murderer on the cross. Today He still seeks that which is lost although He no longer walks among us according to His human nature. He now does so by His Word and Spirit. As often as the Word is preached, He walks about us in the vesture of Scripture, and He seeks your salvation. That is why He reaches out His hands to you and calls out to you, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” He also does this when you read this meditation. How terrible it is when you withdraw yourself from Him and call out to Him, “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways.” That is what you are doing if you continue on in your unconverted state.

What a blessing it is when we have to lose the battle against Him, when His Word penetrates into the deepest recesses of our heart. How we then begin to understand the depths of our lost state. How terribly sad is our condition! As lost ones, we will end up in the dust, confessing our unrighteousness but also begging for mercy. What a wonder it becomes when the good pleasure of the Lord is declared unto us and we are directed to Him who came to seek and to save that which was lost. How much room we then see in Him. How much light then comes into our lives, for with shame we have to admit that He had already sought us for such a long time, that in our earliest years He had already knocked at the door of our heart. He called after us even when we tried to avoid Him. He sought us in canyons of sin and over mountains of unrighteousness. He sought us until He found us. What a wonder it becomes for such ones that He does not overburden them with reproaches but speaks lovingly unto them and comforts them.

Now, you would perhaps expect that those who are found would always remain close to Him, but if He did not always remain the faithful One, they would still perish eternally because they have such a rootless heart. What a blessing it is that He seeks them time and again to save them. That is the purpose for His coming: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Christ does not rest until they are saved. What a wonder that is. Yea, it is a wonder not only that He will seek such lost ones but also that He does not tire of them, for how ungrateful and disloyal are they whom He has sought! Must the Lord not complain, “I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love”? Where is the yearning for and the cleaving unto Him? Take a moment to read the text again. He shall save them. He will not be at rest until they are again with Him to whom they belong. He will take care that not one of them will go lost. The price which He has paid for them was too great, for He has bought them with the price of His precious blood. That is why He can say, “I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” No matter how the world may carry on, no matter how great the power of unbelief may be, He shall make the devil ashamed, that devil who can so often oppress them when he says unto them, “There is no help for him in God.” Yea, all that Christ has fashioned shall honor and praise Him.

They will be saved because His steadfast faithfulness will never allow them to perish. Sometimes they may find therein their strength when He whispers unto them, “I am thy salvation.” Then they are blessed indeed and may believe that in the end they will be saved.

In this way, He becomes their glory and their strength. In this way, they learn to know the power of their lost condition, but they also may learn to experience the rich power of His blood. In this manner, they learn to admire and adore Him more and more, and Zion begins to sing already here upon earth,

Thou art, O God, our boast,
the glory of our power;
Thy sovereign grace is e’er our fortress
and our tower.
We lift our heads aloft, for God,
our shield is o’er us;
Through Him, through Him alone,
whose presence goes before us,
We’ll wear the victor’s crown,
no more by foes assaulted,
We’ll triumph through our King,
by Israel’s God exalted.

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