The Lord Jesus Is the Sinner’s Friend
As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man sitting at the tax office, called Matthew, and said to him, “Follow Me.” And he rose and followed Jesus. And as He was reclining at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and reclined together with Jesus and His disciples. [Matthew 9:9-10]
Nearly all those who collected the taxes levied by the Romans abused their office by making excessive demands based on false accusation. Paying taxes to the Romans was very bitter to the Jews. Those engaged in collecting taxes were despised by the people and counted unworthy of respect. Hence, they were classed with sinners. [Matt. 5:46 fn2]
Matthew 9:10 says, “And as He was reclining at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and reclined together with Jesus and His disciples.” This reveals the kind of person Matthew was. He was a sinful, despised tax collector who had many sinners as his friends.
The Bible has two titles for the Lord: the sinners’ Savior and the sinners’ Friend (Matt. 11:19). The title Savior speaks of His redemption of sinners, and the title Friend speaks of His communication with sinners. He can feel all the pain and sufferings of sinners. Thank and praise the Lord. The Lord Jesus is not only the sinners’ Savior, but also the sinners’ Friend! Sometimes we may encounter difficulties. Sometimes we may be lonely. Many people may give us a bad face; many voices may cause us sorrow. Everything around us may seem gray. But we have to know that when the billows roll over us, the Lord is not just our Savior; He is also our Friend! He feels the suffering that we feel. He sympathizes with us and goes through our experiences together with us.
Sympathy is a characteristic of the Lord when He was on earth. The Bible records many examples of the Lord sympathizing with men. If our hearts are open, we will see the Lord’s sympathy poured out upon us. Before He was the sinners’ Savior, He was already the sinners’ Friend. We know that our Lord came to the earth to die. While He was on His way to death, He sympathized with those whom He met and who had need of Him. Oh what a loving Lord He is!
You can pray this way: “Oh Lord Jesus, what a loving Lord You are! You know that not only do I need a Savior, I need a Friend. A Friend who understands my loneliness, sympathizes with my weaknesses, and accompanies me through difficulties. Lord, You came not only to be my Savior but also to be my Friend. You rejoice with me and suffer with me. When the billows roll over me, I am not lonely nor am I afraid because You will go through all these experiences together with me. Lord Jesus, You are my best friend!