“No Friend Of Sinners”


So what do you think about sinners? “Sinner” is not a word that we hear very often any more.

It may seems outdated. It may have been replaced by a long list of other words in our secular society, and each individual person chooses what they want to include on that list. Not all lists are identical either.

Here are some of the words that may or may not be on your personal list, but they are surely on someone else’s list: alcoholic, prostitute, homosexual, drug addict, gay, racist, pot smoker, bigot, cheater, lesbian, couch potato, bully, terrorist, slut, womanizer, thug.

But Jesus never called anyone a “sinner.” He did use that word though.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” Mark 2:17

Perhaps this is to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to each heart individually so we ask, “Does He mean me?”

It is interesting that a once insulting name for Jesus (Matthew 11:19) has become an endearing title: “Friend Of Sinners.”

This, I believe, is Real Life Jesus.

Interestingly before posting this, I picked up a book yesterday at Barnes & Noble titled “Speaking Christian” by Marcus J. Borg. The subtitle is “Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power-And How They Can Be Restored.” This book has turned out to be more than I expected. It explains how many of the words Christians use have a different meaning nowadays than when first written centuries ago. This difference is due to how words have been used in what the author calls “Heaven-and-Hell Theology,” a way of reading the Bible often quite different from the original intent of its writers. It’s proving to be a very interesting and thought-provoking book!

4 thoughts on ““No Friend Of Sinners”

    1. The first word meaning explored is “salvation,” and the author points out that for many centuries the people of ancient Israel did not think of it as referring to an afterlife. The first clear reference to life beyond death appears in Daniel, one of the last books in the Old Testament to be written when you look at them chronologically.

      Interestingly Daniel is one of the books that you are exploring in your current series of posts! Kind of a cool coincidence, I think!

      Anyway, the book will also look at “believing,” “mercy,” “sin,” and “righteousness,” along with “God” and “Jesus.” This is just a sampling, but I find it interesting that some of these leave me thinking, “So there could be more to that word than I realized!”

      Liked by 1 person

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