You’ve probably heard the phrase before. Jesus is a friend of sinners. We even sing songs that include this as part of the lyrics. However, we must remember that originally, this was no compliment.
In Jesus day, when he was called a “friend of sinners,” it would be like saying that he is a friend of drunks, whores, and thugs. He is a friend to “those people” who make religious people’s palms sweat and double check to make sure their wallet is still in place. Lest, we think we are better than “those people” let’s remember that Jesus called sinners, not the righteous to repentance (Luke 5:32). He came for the hopeless, the needy, the spiritually poor, and the failures. He came for those who realize that this world sold them a dream that it didn’t deliver. He came for those who are drowning and just beginning to realize it. He came for sinners like you and me.
Jesus didn’t just come though. He came and lived a perfectly sinless life and then died on the cross to pay for our sin. He credited both his death and his perfect life back to us. He got the punishment, we get the rescue. He gave us his “A” and he took our “F.” Now that’s a friend! And these analogies fall short of the reality what this God-man did.
Jesus, friend of sinners. Yes, even if that phrase started as a insult it is indeed a compliment and for those of us who know we’re sinners, it’s so good to be called His friend!