Friday, August 30, 2013

Jesus is a friend of sinners

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

That’s love.  That’s the God kind of love we talk about that is unconditional, agape love.  No one would hardly die for a good person let along a bad person.  But Jesus did.  He loves us in spit of ourselves and proves His love because he wants to.  God allowed His son to be crushed for you and for me. 

I have heard a lot of things people have said about who JESUS IS.  But there is another level where we might say things seem illogical or unreasonable.  It is when we start to question because we think we understand God, but we don’t.  We’ve missed the best or the most important because we thought we got it.  But we don’t.

God’s son became sin to take on our sin, yet He was perfect and sinless.  Jesus died to forgive the sin of people who would accept Him and for those who would not accept Him.  Why love people who you know will never love you back?  Some of us will love God.  Some people will never love God.  But Jesus experienced pain and took the place of people who don’t or won’t ever love God. 

Think about it.  Who would Jesus hang out with?  Wait, we know this.  We see in the Bible Jesus spending time with people who aren’t OK in the normal world.  I have to confess that I have to rethink things at times because we assume or I assume that Jesus would spend time with church people like me or our church family.  That might not be true.  He surely would come through and teach, but the people Jesus impacted the most were not welcome in the church of His day or of ours.

Jesus spent time with the tax collector, the prostitute, the people who had been married multiple times, those who had mental disorders or who dealt with demons.  Jesus shocked the people of His day, and if and when Jesus shows up today, He still shocks people.

I see this in the question I’m asked of “why serve or give so much”.  I see this in the regulations that keep the people living on the fringe and who don’t qualify from getting services or help.  That is the people Jesus spent time with, and that is the people we should spend time with and love like Jesus loved.  Others will see how God has really changed our lives and forgiven our sin not by how pious we are or how holy we are, but they will know we are changed by the way we love others.

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

Jesus loved people who would never love Him or could never love Him in return.  Understand it this way: Jesus doesn’t need us.  Jesus wants us.  When we were least deserving, He made us deserving.  When we were a long way from Him, He brought us close to Him. 

Thank God that He thinks differently than we do and loves greater than we love.  Now it is time to do what Jesus did … forgive … love … share … seek Him and not the praise of people.  As I shared earlier this week, great leaders and people with a heart for God seek to give all the glory to others and to point people to God.

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Psalm 42:8    NLT But each day the   Lord   pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs,   praying to Go...