Lost and Found
In 1970, while Bob Russell was a graduate student at Temple University in Philadelphia, his 1967 Austin Healey sports car was stolen. Over the years, Russell kept the original title to the car and the keys, and he memorized the vehicle identification number.
During a sleepless night on May 11, 2012, Russell got out of bed and began surfing the internet. While browsing eBay, he saw his old car for sale. After contacting the seller, getting a copy of the old police report through the National Crime Information Center, securing the assistance of the Philadelphia Police Department, and haggling with the seller over the buy-back price, Bob Russell and his wife Cynthia (who had gone on their first dates together in that car over forty years earlier), flew to California and took back ownership of the car on June 18, 2012.
Though the VIN plate had been removed, and the glove box lock had been broken, and the lock to the trunk was missing, he was delighted to get his car back. Russell commented, "When it was stolen it was pristine; now it's going to need a lot of work. On the other hand, it's been more than 40 years. It's very gratifying to get it back."
This man went to great lengths to retrieve a car. He just couldn’t give up on it. He lost sleep over it. It mattered so much to him, even after forty years, he wasn’t able to forget about it. And then when he thought he had found it, he traveled all the way across the country to retrieve it.
As we continue our series on the basics of the faith this Sunday, we’ll come to the heart of the Gospel. The story of Jesus is a recovery mission that looks like this man’s quest to retrieve his car look like a trip to the local 7-eleven.
The Gospel is the story of God sending his own across space and time to become one of us in order to recover us, his lost creation. The reason he goes to such great lengths, however, is the same. A man recovers his car because loves it. God recovers us because he loves us.