Is Jesus really the friend of sinners?

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By BibleAsk Team


Jesus – The Friend of Sinners 

The Bible declares that Jesus is the Friend of sinners. He proved this by His life and death on behalf of man. For He left heaven (John 6:38) and came to earth “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). There is no greater love than this (John 15:13). 

Jesus hated sin but loved the sinners. Quoting Isaiah 61:1–2, He declared to all people, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). 

During Christ’s ministry, the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. But the Pharisees and scribes complained about that. So, He said to these religious leaders: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:1-4).  

It irritated the religious leaders that the Savior would treat these despised outcasts of society with friendliness (Mark 2:15–17). These leaders cherished sin but hated the afflicted ones and considered them unworthy. But the Savior affirmed that He had not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repent (Mark 2:17).  

It is a paradox that those who viewed themselves as leaders of righteousness felt so uncomfortable in the presence of Jesus, whereas those who admittedly made no claim to righteousness felt drawn to Him. The reason for this is because one class felt no need of the blessings Jesus had to offer, the other class realized its need and made no effort to hide it (Matthew 5:3; Mark 2:5; Luke 4:26; 5:8).  

For the “sinners,” the Savior had words of encouragement and healing. To them, He confirmed that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). But for the hypocrite religious leaders who were self-righteous, He had only words of rebuke and condemnation for their hypocrisy (Luke 14:3–6, 11; Mark 3:4; Luke 14:4).  

Jesus rebuked the pharisees, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Luke 7:31–34; Matthew 11:16–19). 

In one occasion, Jesus ate with many tax collectors and sinners. So, the Pharisees objected His action. Then, Jesus said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13). 

God is not pleased with the mere offering of rituals and ceremonies in worship (Micah 6:7). What He requires of man is “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8). “To obey” has always been “better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 5:22; Matthew 7:21–27; Mark 7:7–9). 

The Savior again showed His love to sinners when He visited a “chief tax collector,” a social outcast, by the name Zaccheaus (Luke 19:1-10). While the Jewish society branded Zacchaeus as a “sinner,” Jesus saw his sincerity and reached out to save. After Jesus’ encounter with him, the tax collector moved by the Holy Spirit, declared his sincere repentance.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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