Christ Our Friend

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 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” Luke 7:34 

“I have called you friends.” John 15:15 

When Jesus lived and dwelled among us, it is astonishing to see who he associated himself with. Here was the eternal Son of God, the one in whom all things were created, and he was often found with those we’d least expect: the sick and lame, the deaf and the mute, thieves and prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. He ate, drank, and laughed with them. He talked with and listened to them. He cried with them. He befriended them.

All this because he loved them.

The self-important and religious elite scoffed and were often scandalized by him. Surely a man sent from God wouldn’t associate with those kinds of people. So in order to harm his reputation and discredit him, they called him “friend of … sinners.”

Oh, the irony. They spoke better than they knew. They used these words as a slur, but Christ wore them as a badge of honour. That is truly who he truly was. He was, most truly, the Friend of Sinners. This was the very reason he came—for the sick, for the outcast, for sinners.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mk. 2:17; see Lk. 5:31–32)

Being a sinner therefore is not an obstacle to friendship with Christ as we’d expect. It is the prerequisite: it actually qualifies us to be his friend. Notice that he eats with the Pharisees too. They are equally lost and sick sinners, but they are blind to their need. Christ’s heart is for them too. Truly, anyone can get in on this.

This means, then, that our sin does not push Christ away from us. It doesn’t repulse him. Rather, our being sinners draws him in tender affection and compassion towards us.

This is a friendship like no other, a friendship so deep that one willingly dies for the other. Most people will scarcely die for another (Rom. 5:7). We may be willing to die for our family, perhaps even for a friend. But to die for our enemies, those who are evil? No way.

Christ was not just willing to die for his friends; he deliberately died for his enemies. Why? To bring us to himself.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Rom. 5:8)

Jesus knows—more than we do—how much of an enemy to him we truly are. He is someone who knows us like no one else: he knows our weaknesses, our oddities, our lusts, stubbornness, self-pity, struggles, red flags, our deepest shame and guilt. Yet, knowing all this, he lays down his life for us.

By doing so, Christ makes us his friend; he makes us his own. He knows us truly and loves us anyway.

So, you don’t have to wonder what he thinks of you, whether you’ve talked too much, over-shared or under-shared, said the right things or wrong things, lived up to his standard. You don’t need to wonder whether he is growing weary of you, whether he is secretly suspicious of you, whether he has lost hope for you. He is the friend who sympathizes and is moved by our weakness. He is a friend who loves at all times (Prov. 17:17). His loyalty is unwavering, his correction is most tender, and his goodness and love pursue us all the days of our lives.

What a friend we have in Jesus! Indeed, a friend of sinners!

 

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Picture of Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner (@chancefaulkner) manages Union Publishing and oversees the content across all the ministries at Union. He holds an undergraduate degree in Theological Studies from Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College and is a Master of Theology candidate at Union School of Theology. He is a Jr. Fellow of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and the co-founder of H&E Publishing.
Picture of Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner (@chancefaulkner) manages Union Publishing and oversees the content across all the ministries at Union. He holds an undergraduate degree in Theological Studies from Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College and is a Master of Theology candidate at Union School of Theology. He is a Jr. Fellow of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and the co-founder of H&E Publishing.