What does the fact that Jesus was attracted to sinners say about him?That wasn’t meant as a rhetorical question. Actually think about how Jesus conducted himself in interactions with regular folks . . . the ones who were“good,” the ones who thought they were “good,” and the ones who knew they weren’t so “good.” After all, this is “God in a bod” interacting with mere mortals who in actuality were all off the “holy” grid to some degree. We all know sinners were attracted to him, but why? Sinners don’t seem to be so readily attracted to us “every day Christians,” do they? And why is that since we are called to be like Christ?
Sometimes I think we as believers can get a bit carried away with the status afforded us by being “in” Christ. The Bible refers to us corporately as“saints” and I suppose that’s ok if the Bible says it. But it’s not likely you would stand up in a Sunday assembly if the Pastor said “if you see yourself as a saint, stand up!” That would be awkward. Why is that? Because we know we still sin and we’re uncomfortable posing as one who does not. We are loved and accepted by Christ though we still struggle and sin. After all, wedidn’t do anything to improve our station in life did we? It was Christ who made us right with God. Having this sense of goodness or righteousness which is conferred on us because of Christ seems an insufficient reason notto respond to sinners or “saints who sin” any differently than Christ did.
Jesus’ first response to sinful people (other than the haughty religionists) was not judgment, condemnation or even a counseling session. He offered something infinitely better. It was a compassionate truth encounter. The account of the sinful woman at the well in John 4 (and she was pretty full of sin, I suppose) is a good example as is the woman caught in adultery in John 8 or even Jesus calling Matthew to join his entourage and dining with sinners and tax collectors in Matthew 9. Jesus was like Jesus in these accounts and there is much to admire there. In these same accounts, Jesus’ disciples behaved much like we do in thought and deed and unfortunately there is room for attitude adjustment. Please read these accounts and see for yourself. Really, the disciples saw God in the flesh set a compassionate example right before their eyes and still their thoughts and actions were repellent.
Jesus sees value in all people. That’s why he came to earth to redeem as many as would respond to his rescue plan. Jesus saw beyond race, gender, cultural divisions and especially sin. The spirit of Christ indeed dwells in all those who follow Christ. Knowing that, what is there about people who are not of your tribe, gender, social standing, culture or holiness that makes them valuable to you? (Waiting on your answer) Allowing for an initial degree of awkwardness in engaging people who are different than us in some fashion (and everyone is to some degree), is the love of Christ, the love from Christ which is meant to be extended to others, capable of being stronger than our love for comfort? If it is, how can you and I demonstrate it beyond our personal safety bubble? Will you consider a way to do so and follow through?“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all.” (2 Cor. 5:14) Think About It.