As we continue our weekly installment of a Christology, we have arrived into section 9: the invitation of the Christ. One of Jesus’ biggest criticisms was that he was a friend of sinners.
You have heard the phrase: “Hate the sin, but don’t hate the sinner.” That’s a difficult line to walk. How can we befriend sinners and not getting stuck in the sin that entangles them? You might think it is impossible to do it, but it’s not. Jesus hung around sinners but he never sinned. Oftentimes, I see Christians hang around sinners but avoid being intentional about Kingdom living. It’s almost an attempt to remain unscathed than it is to change lives.
How come most unchurched people avoid churched people because they are perceived as stuffy, judgmental, hypocritical goody-two-shoes, and yet sinners would invite Jesus to the party?
Here are some things to remember:
- In John 8:2-11, Jesus’ writing in the sand sends Pharisees running away from stoning an adulteress woman. While Jesus could have stoned her, he chose not to, yet instructed her: “Go and sin no more.”
- In Luke 19:1-10, Jesus reaches out to a crook Zaccheus because he was looking for the lost.
- In Matthew 9:1-13, Jesus not only befriends and eats with a tax collector, but eventually chooses him as one of the Twelve.
- In Luke 7:31-50, Jesus’ feet are washed and anointed by a “woman of the city” and everyone can’t believe Jesus allows it to happen.
- In Matthew 21:31, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the tax collectors and prostitutes are closer to the Kingdom of God than them. Fighting words. Jesus knew someone who understood how rotten their sin was was closer to heaven than someone who acts like they have it all together.