Leon Morris on Jesus’ friendship with sinners

We are right in the middle of the Christmas season. Perhaps more than any other time of the year, those who do not know or believe in Jesus are curious as to what Christianity is all about. As we interact with those who do not believe, it is important to remember how Jesus dealt with those who were considered “a little rough around the edges.” I thought this quote might be helpful in this regard.

Friend of Sinners“It had been obvious to thinking men that contemporary Israel was far from being the people of God in any meaningful sense. But the usual remedies were withdrawal. The Qumran sect did this literally, withdrawing into the wilderness. The Pharisees did it in a different fashion, living among the people but separating themselves in thought. They despised others and thought of themselves as standing especially close to God. Such groups regarded ‘sinners’ as hopeless. Jesus’ attitude is in sharp contrast. For Him sinners are not to be rejected out of hand. They are to be sough out and ministered to. It is impossible to see in His warmth toward them anything less than an indication that they might enter into the salvation He came to bring. It is significant that His whole ministry was concerned with sinners, not with righteous men.”

-Leon Morris in The Cross in the New Testament

Too often, those who visit churches at Christmas come away feeling that they need to clean themselves up before coming back. I cannot detect that anyone felt this way who came to Jesus.

May we all be a friend to sinners this Christmas and all through the year.