Friend of Sinners

post date: March 27, 2014

“A friend . . . of sinners» (Luke 7:34). 

They meant it as an insult.
They said it with a sneer.

“That Jesus, he hangs out with sinners,” almost spitting out the last word.

“Sinners!”

Prostitutes.
Drunkards.
Troublemakers.
Trashy types.
Low-class, no-count losers.

He wasn’t a front-runner. He didn’t gravitate to the country club crowd or to the folks with money or lots of letters after their name.

He welcomed anyone who welcomed him.

He had time to talk to the “rich young ruler” who went away sorrowful but Jesus loved him anyway.

To say he was a “friend of sinners” means that he wasn’t embarrassed by what anyone had done. His range of friends included Nicodemus and the woman who washed his feet with her tears. 

“She stood behind him at his feet weeping; she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38). How would you describe this woman?  Generous . . . affectionate . . . impulsive . . . demonstrative . . . emotional . . . passionate . . . uninhibited.

Why is she weeping?  She loves Jesus and she isn’t afraid to show it.

    She stands . . . . to honor his greatness.
    She weeps . . . . overwhelmed with sorrow over her past.
    She wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair . . . . a sign of deep humility.
    She kisses his feet . . . . a gesture of affection and respect.
    She anoints his feet . . . in gratitude for what he has done for her.

The people at Simon’s dinner party were shocked. How could Jesus allow a woman like that to touch him? Jesus knew what they thought, knew what they were whispering to each other, knew how much they disdained this woman and her extravagant display of love. 

He knew and he didn’t care what they thought.

Jesus wasn’t ashamed to be a “friend of sinners.” Are we?

Lord Jesus, if you were not the “friend of sinners,” we could not be saved. Help us to love the unlovely as you have loved us. Amen.

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Ray Pritchard
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