The Guest of Sinners
Sep 3, 2018 1598
Jesus was a guest of sinners. But I grew up as a rather sheltered young man. I never wanted to be a guest of sinners: people who weren’t living how I considered right, because I thought they might have a bad influence on me.
Once, I visited another teenager my age who had apparently “done drugs,” and who (it was rumoured) had been in trouble with the law. That was scary stuff! As I walked into the house, I felt a that I was literally the guest of a sinner. I was way outside my comfort zone. That was about as close as I got to “sinners.”
The truth is that I’ve always lived a rather “religious” life, but I hope I’m nowhere near as judgmental as I used to be! I hope I’m more accepting, kinder, and understanding.
But how different was my experience to how Jesus related to people! He horrified his contemporaries with the way he behaved. Not only did Jesus not avoid sinners, but he sought them out, and he enjoyed their company! And when the people complained about Jesus that,
He has gone to be the guest of a sinner – Luke 19:7,
the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. – v.10.
It’s almost as if Jesus shrugged his shoulders and said,
“Guilty as charged! It’s what I do.”
Too often the only sinners Christians are happy to associate with are those who supposedly aren’t sinning any more.
That’s what the Gospel is all about. There’s no other hope for us than a Saviour who has come to be a guest of sinners. And if that’s how Jesus operates, isn’t it time we did the same?
But the truth is that too often the only sinners Christians are happy to associate with are who supposedly aren’t sinning any more, isn’t that right? These are the people who used to be addicted to drugs but aren’t now, the people who used to be involved in immoral activities but aren’t now, or simply the people who used to dress inappropriately, but now dress like we do. Those are the acceptable sinners, but not the ones who are actually sinning! That’s gross hypocrisy.
We forget that we ourselves are the sinners! We used to sin, and we still sin. The sins of pride and gossip and anger are not better than the sin of immorality, or any other sin you may mention. Every sin separates us from God. There are no better sinners, only different sinners; but thank God there are also forgiven sinners.
God is love. And, as Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if we were the only one.” For God, it isn’t a choice of loving someone holier or loving you. Christ simply loves you.
The Son of God didn’t wait for sinners to stop being sinners before he loved them. He didn’t wait for them to be reformed before he came. John 1:14 says that,
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (NKJV).
Jesus did exactly what this verse says. He didn’t live apart from sinners, he didn’t live above sinners: he lived among sinners. He earned the scorn of the so-called “righteous,” and so will you if you choose to follow his example of love. That’s hugely challenging for us who live comfortable Christian lives.
But we can make a start. Can you think of someone who is in trouble right now, to whom you can reach out with a kind word or action? Not to “convert” then or to help them “change their ways,” but simply to be with them in kindness and love. Pray about it, and then go and be the guest of a sinner.
To save us, Jesus had to come to be the guest of sinners. Have you invited him to be your guest? It’s better to know that Jesus lives with you, than to have the “holiest” friends in the world.
– Eliezer Gonzalez