Sun, 9 December 2018
Jesus is called by many names or titles in Scripture.
Some of these names have a special tie to the Christmas season—Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Many of his names, including these that I’ve just metioned, are transcendent. They speak of His power and sovereignty. He is Master, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and the list goes on.
But there is one name that is especially tender, intimate, simple, and too seldom called to mind. It’s the name “friend.” Now, were that title for Jesus not sweet enough, in Luke 7:34 it is added that, not only is he a friend, he is a friend “of sinners.”
I am so glad that Jesus is a friend of sinners. That means that he can be my friend and yours! And that is exactly who he is--our friend!
That name, “friend of sinners,” was originally meant as an insult—an outright criticism, but Jesus took it as a compliment. It was his mission in coming as a babe to Bethlehem to befriend sinners. No wonder the Christmas carol tells us that he was “born to be our friend.” It is because of his friendship with sinners that we can sing of “the thrill of hope”!
The Thrill of Hope
“Born to Be Our Friend”
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them . . .(15:4a).
. . . does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? (15:4b)
And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (15:5-7).