Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘“friend of sinners”’

83350I love the fact that Jesus wasn’t afraid to identify Himself with us. It’s the reason He came, of course – to identify so completely with us that He actually took the guilt of our sin upon Himself on the cross. He went way beyond what any of us would do for another person, even someone we really love. But think about His day-to-day existence 2000 years ago. He was all about identifying Himself with broken, lost, sinful ‘outcasts’. The Pharisees thought they were hurling insults when they accused Jesus of being “a friend of sinners”. Man, those words are sweet music to my ears!! Jesus, my friend! I worry sometimes that we, as the church, have forgotten who we were, or who we are, without Jesus. You know, when we talk about someone in that gossipy, condescending tone, a sort of thinly disguised self-righteousness that we convince ourselves is okay as long as we say, “we need to pray for them”. Them? We are them. Or at least, without Him, we are them.

We all say we want to be more like Jesus. We sing the words, “Lord, I wanna be more like you… I want to be a vessel You flow through…” That’s great. I sing those words and I sincerely mean them. But when push comes to shove, do we really want to be more like Him? To what extent? Are we prepared to be spit upon and beaten, humiliated, betrayed, deserted, mocked, shamed, unjustly accused and executed? Maybe in some parts of the world, but I doubt very many of us here would put up with that for anybody’s sake, let alone Christ’s.

Think about some of the people He came in contact with during His earthly ministry. The raving, demon possessed man in Luke 8. When Jesus was confronted by him as He stepped ashore, did He get back into His boat and row away? Of course not. He was very hands on when He healed people. He wasn’t afraid he was going to “catch” something, or afraid of being gossiped about for touching sinners. He didn’t see us as “them”. He abased Himself, coming down to our level in order to lift us up to His.

If we love Jesus, I mean really love Him, we can show it by identifying with Him. He identified with our sin and shame. We have a responsibility to identify with every sinful expression of humanity that we encounter. I don’t mean we should get involved in the sin, but we need to actively embrace “sinners” because we understand that God’s grace is the only thing that can lift us out of our shared pit of broken humanity. All it takes is His love, a gift He has given us to share. We can show our gratitude by identifying with Him – Jesus, our friend, a friend of sinners.

Read Full Post »