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  • Writer's pictureR.C. VanLandingham

Jesus Converts Sinners

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

This is Day 12 of my 40 day Lenten blog.

"Jesus hung out with sinners." How many times have we heard this? Especially on TV and the movies. Often times this sentence is proclaimed as a defense of a) our own (or the TV character's) sinfulness or b) our (or the character's) hanging out with those that others consider the wrong types of people (aka sinners). It's a true statement, but it is also lacks context. It doesn't paint the full picture.

In Mark 2:16, the Pharisees are aghast that Jesus is eating with sinners. These are tax collectors (who stole from the people by charging more taxes than Rome required and keeping the rest for themselves), prostitutes, drunkards, and all manner of people of ill repute. Jesus responded by telling the Pharisees that "it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick."

Let's ponder that statement for a second. Do doctors "hang out" with the sick? In a manner of speaking, yes. But more precisely, doctors attempt to heal the sick. They try to stop them from being sick anymore.

Jesus didn't just "hang out" with sinners. He wasn't eating with them because they were way cooler than those squares in the Sanhedrin. He didn't "hang out" with sinners because He preferred their company to the Pharisees who just wanted to pray and talk about boring stuff like the Scriptures all the time. He didn't "hang out" with sinners because He's hip to cool things like sexual promiscuity, unlike those uptight religious types who want people to follow rules. No. Jesus "hung out" with sinners to convert them. He was trying desperately to get them to turn away from their sin. Jesus loves sinners (thank God because I need Him to), and because of that He doesn't want to see us die in our sin. So He does everything He can to save us from our sin and turn us back to God. Often times that means getting in the dirt so as to pull us out of it.

To say, "Jesus hung out with sinners," is true, but it misses the point. A more accurate statement would be "Jesus converts sinners." Am I converting sinners, too?

Today's prayer: Lord, please do not abandon me to my sin, but turn me away from evil and toward You. And help me to spread that love You gave me to others to help them turn from their sin as well. Amen.

R.C. VanLandingham lives in Florida with his wife and kids. He is the author of several books including the Christian fantasy books Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity, Peter Puckett & the Enchanted Chalice, and Magdalene Hope & the Elves of Evermore.

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