Jesus – The Friend of Sinners

This month is going to be a devotional series about Jesus and His relationship with us. Today we are looking at how He seeks us out and is our Friend. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (NASB 1995) Jesus’ whole purpose was to come to earth to save the lost. Our verse is framed in the story of Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector in Jesus’ day, and the Bible says he was a chief tax collector and very wealthy. Tax collectors in that day were not necessarily the most honest people. Some would overcharge taxes, give what was required to the government and keep the rest. Zacchaeus was very wealthy, and he was a chief tax collector…someone high up on the ladder of success as tax collectors go. In Luke 19, we read the story of how Jesus was coming to Zacchaeus’ area, and Zacchaeus had heard a lot about Jesus and wanted to see him, but Zacchaeus was a short man and not able to see just standing among the crowd, so he climbed up a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus as He passed by. As Jesus came to the tree He stopped and looked up in the tree and called Zacchaeus down from the tree and said He wanted to go to Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus sought out Zacchaeus! He purposely stopped at that tree just to meet Zacchaeus! The Bible tells us that because of the relationship Jesus developed with Zacchaeus, the tax collector changed. He gave half of his possessions to the poor and paid back four times over what he had stolen from those he had defrauded.

Jesus seeks out sinners and begins relationships with them if they are willing to allow Him to be their Friend. He loves sinners. For those of us who have asked Jesus to be our Savior, we have experienced that relationship with Jesus, and have found Him the Best Friend we could ever have. The Bible tells us that, as sinners, we don’t go looking for Him, but He comes looking for us! Romans 3:10-11 says, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (ESV) John 4:23 says, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (ESV)

There are several parables where Jesus talked about lost things. (Luke 15) In each of those stories, something was lost…a coin, a sheep, a son. In each of these parables, someone was looking diligently for something precious to them. Jesus used these parables to emphasize that God seeks out sinners, people who are lost, and He keeps on seeking them until they are found, and He wants them as His own sons and daughters.

When we accept Jesus’ invitation to come into His family, He begins a relationship with us that will last for eternity. He becomes a Friend who sticks closer than a brother! (Proverbs 18:24) He desires that we become so close to Him that we can sense Him calling to us, we can hear His still, small voice even amid the noise and chaos of the day in which we live.

Jesus calls us His friends when we accept Him into our hearts. John 15:15b says, “…I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (ESV) He isn’t at arm’s length to us, He stands close to us, walking with us through everything we experience, sometimes, even carrying us through hard times. He also shares with us those things that will help us on our journey. Only friends do that!

Today would be a good day to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, to begin a relationship with the best Friend you will ever have. Just confess you are a sinner, ask for His forgiveness, and invite Him to live in you. Then endeavor to live for Him, and you will find that you can go through whatever life throws at you because your Friend is right there helping you along the way.

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