THE BLESSED INSULT
“For John came neither eating or drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
When I was a kid, I often got into verbal fights with my siblings. One of the standard defenses in our war of words was the annoying little retort, “I know you are, but what am I?” Did you ever use it? Every insult was turned on its ear with that simple reply.
In the life and ministry of Jesus, His enemies never ceased to disparage His holy name. They called Him a blasphemer, a deceiver, and a Samaritan. They even said He had a demon and cast out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons and the lord of the flies. No doubt, all these insults were extremely hurtful as divine, incarnate love was met with such cruelty and hatred.
Yet, one of the insults hurled at Jesus turned out to be one of the greatest things ever said about Him, “[He is] a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners.” The Jewish religious leaders were utterly appalled and sickened that someone claiming to be of God would actually befriend and welcome out and out sinners. Didn’t everyone know that sinners had spiritual cooties? To get close to a sinner was tantamount to hanging out with a contagious, rotting leper. It just wasn’t done by any God-fearing, self-respecting Jew. But, it was done by the Lord Jesus.
I’m so glad Jesus is a friend of sinners… because I am one! Even as someone who has been a Christian for decades, I still falter and fail in my walk with the Lord. But, the good news is He never condemns me or kicks me out of the family. He is always quick to reach out His hand and pick me up. He is not only a friend of sinners, but He is also “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
Indeed, it is awesome and life-changing to believe and receive the truth that the Lord Jesus wants to be our friend. He didn’t come to condemn us, He came to save us. He is not against us, He is for us. He doesn’t want to hinder us, He wants to help us. To be sure, He is not for our sinful ways, because those sinful ways lead to misery, chains, and death. But, He is for us as beloved souls for whom He died.
How different would your life be if you began to live as if Jesus were your best friend? The truth is He wants to be just that for you. Why not start today? Share your heart, your hurts, your hopes, and your hang-ups with Him. Confess any known sin and all known struggles. Include Him in everything you face in life. He wants to help you be the best you can be, all for your good and His glory.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries