Friend of Sinners
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet utters the well-known phrase: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Here Shakespeare implies that the names of things do not matter; only what things are. However, the truth is that you can learn a lot about a person from their names and titles.
In the Bible, Jesus is described by many different names. He is called the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and the Savior of the World. But perhaps one of his most telling names is one that was given to Him by His enemies: The friend of sinners.
The “holier than thou” religious leaders of Jesus’ day were experts in keeping sinners at a distance. Enter Jesus. On one occasion, Jesus was sharing a meal with some notorious sinners, and the religious leaders got upset and said, “Why do You eat with sinners?” Jesus’ response revealed much about His mission: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” Perhaps this is what Morton Kelsey meant when he said, “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Jesus, and you will find rest for your weary soul. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
Pastor Chris Jordan
(Note – today’s blog is the first in a series of posts that were originally published as columns in our local newspaper, The Clipper).