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Monday, May 6, 2013

“Jesus,The Friend of Sinners”

By Clovis Chappell

     There was not one beyond His sympathy and His tender compassion.  No sin was black enough to fling its victim beyond the reach of His interest and of His forgiving love.  That was an awful sin that Peter committed on the night of Christ’s arrest.  Confronted by a servant girl who inquired of his loyalty to Jesus Christ, he refused to confess that there had ever been any friendship between them.  Worse still, he swore that he had never met Jesus at all (Lk. 22:57-59).  And this he did, mark you, when his Master stood alone and was most sorely in need of a friend.  But what response did Jesus make to this contemptible and cowardly denial? Luke records, “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter” (22:61a).  There was no disgust when He looked upon this disciple whose knees had gone weak and whose heart had utterly failed in the presence of danger.  He did not scorn Peter.  There was sorrow, there was compassion more tender than ever looked out of the eyes of a mother, but there was no scorn.  That is the reason this look broke Peter’s heart.  He went out and wept bitterly (22:62).  The Lord forgave Peter and allowed him to preach the Gospel on the birthday of the church—less than two months later (Pentecost,  (Acts 2).
     One day the Pharisees threw an ugly piece of human wreckage at the Master’s feet (John 8:1-11).  She was a woman of blasted character.  She had walked to that hour through the stench and filth of a moral swamp.  She belonged to that class that in all ages has been the victim of man’s keenest scorn and disgust.  But Christ was not disgusted with her.  He looked upon her with a tenderness that gave her hope.  John gives us this exchange: “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (8:10, 11).  He did not condone her sin, but neither did He condemn a repenting sinner.

– via House to House/Heart to Heart.

(THE ABOVE ARTICLE states well the purpose of Jesus coming to earth.  It was more than to give us an example to show how we should live.  It was more than to be born in a humble Bethlehem manger so that we could have a Christmas.  It was more than to add to the number of religions in the world.  He came to be the “friend of sinners” (Matt. 11:19).  He came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  He came to “minister (serve) and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He came to be “the Way, the Truth and the Life”—man’s one access to the Father (John 14:6).  While many at this season of the year honor Jesus’ birth, all should realize that without His ministry, death and resurrection, His birth would be without significance.  He entered the world in a manger, and the world ended up putting Him upon a cross, but it was all designed for the redemption of sinners.  All should always remember His birth into the world, while never forgetting the purpose of His coming—to save us from eternal condemnation.  In the words of the apostle Paul, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15). The Bible declares that “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23), and are therefore sinners.  This makes it personal.  He died for me! He died for you! Have you received Him through faith, repentance and baptism in His name (Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 2:38)? Are you walking “in the light” of His word, realizing the continual cleansing power of His blood each day? (1 John 1:7-9)  Only if your answer is “Yes” can you truly appreciate His birth.  – Ron Bartanen)

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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