After considering the scandalous past of the people for whom Jesus goes looking, you too might furrow your brow. Jesus goes straight through the despised area of Samaria to locate an adulterous woman (John 4.1-26), and now we find him purposefully befriending the chief of tax oppression (Luke 19.1-10). But Jesus’ unlikely company demonstrates his extravagant love and his desire to call sinners his friends.
In John 15.9-17, Jesus explicitly describes his intention to call his disciples “friends.” Not because they’d choose his friendship, but because the “radiance of God’s glory and exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1.3) wrapped in human flesh (John 1.14) chooses them. Yes, even Jesus’ disciples need Jesus to choose them: to demonstrate a greater love by laying down his life sacrificially for them, teaching them about his Heavenly Father, and appointing them to experience and give away his love.
Jesus is on a mission to seek and save the lost (Luke 19.10), and he is interested in befriending you. Whether you relate with the adulterous woman, the tax collector, or one of Jesus’ disciples, Jesus invites you to be his friend because of his death on the cross (Romans 5.6-8).
Know for sure, everyone who calls on the name of Lord will be saved (Romans 10.13). Substitute your name in for the “us” and “we” and memorize your personal version of Romans 5.8.
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