A friend of sinners........


Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”Luke 15:1-2

 

Once again, Jesus turns common teaching and behavior on its head.  It was the “sinners”, not the religious, that were playing close attention to Him.  It was the sinners, those “headed to hell”, that wanted to be close to Him, eat with Him and wash His feet—and that would die for Him. 

 

Now why is that? Why were the bad folks wanting to be close Jesus and the good folks keeping their distance?   Well, for one thing, He was kind to the bad people! They weren’t use to that. They were accustomed to having religious folks ignore them or cross over to the other side of the street when they saw them coming.  The good folks treated them like trash, retro-bate or “untouchable”.  But Jesus was different. He treated them as if they were worth the attention.  In fact, He came to die for them.

 

Jesus also listened to the bad folks—-and He still does!  But how often do I listen to a beggar or a drunk or someone that’s homeless? Is there anything more kind that to simply listen—-and anything more inhuman than to ignore?  Jesus heard their pleas for help and He responded!  And He still hears and responds-praise be to God.

 

Jesus was also different in that He did not judge their hearts—as a future witness to you and me as to how we treat liberals, conservatives, socialists or communists! We cannot know where that “bad” person has been or what they’ve experienced.  But no one wakes up one day and decides that they want to be poor, or an drug addict or felon (or a Democrat or Republican). It happens, over time, for a multitude of reason.

 

These sinners were ignored and jeered by the righteous people and they never expected much from them. But then Jesus came and broke all the rule and  by-passed all expected norms of behavior.  May God use you and me to break the same rules and not “fit in”.

 

Jesus came to become a friend of sinners, save them, and call them brothers and sisters.  There’s no other means by which I could have entered into His Kingdom. He came to the earth looking for people like me—folks who were in need of a hero, a friend, a protector and redeemer.   

That’s what I want to share to fellow sinners. “Jesus loves you, hears, you, wants to be near you and He understands”…..

 

Warmly, 

 

Dean Barley

 

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