Friday, February 10, 2012

Intimate Fellowship with Sinners

"He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down andreceived him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”  And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19:1-10

"This action of Jesus going to a sinner's home should cause us to think about the way Jesus relates to sinners. Jesus does not keep his distance from sinners, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law; nor does he preach condemning sermons at sinners, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law. If Jesus had conformed to their practice of devotion to God, moral purity, and separation, they would not have been outraged by his behavior. What is so shocking and unacceptable to them is that Jesus desire to have intimate fellowship with sinners. He visits with them. He sits down and eats with them. He invites them to the homes of his friends and disciples. He goes gladly into their homes; he even invites himself to be their guest, just as he does with Zacchaeus. He welcomes them joyfully, and in return, they welcome him joyfully."

Jerram Barrs, Learning Evangelism From Jesus. 89.

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