Friends and sinners

Wes Kinder - Contributing - Columnist

The Lord often taught his followers by doing.

One such example can be found when he met up with a feller by the name of Zaccheus, the chief tax collector.

Jesus was traveling. He had entered Jericho and was passin’ through. Zaccheus was short in stature, and he wanted to catch a look-see at this Jesus that everybody had turned out for. So he climbed up in a sycamore tree to get a better view.

Whenever Jesus came upon Zaccheus in that tree he stopped. And he looked up at Zaccheus in that tree, and said, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Well, ‘ole Zach came right on down and likely gave Jesus a big handshake and greeting and they started off towards the short man’s house.

Now, the religious locals, having seen such a thing were grumbling. This Jesus has gone to the house of a sinner. Doesn’t Jesus know that this man is a tax collector?

But Zaccheus, the sinner, gave his all to Christ that day. Zaccheus told the Lord that he would give half of all he had to the poor. And he went on to tell the Lord that whatever he had inappropriately taken from others, he’d give it back times four.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19)

If I look at this on the surface, I can’t help but think, “What an unlikely pair.” Jesus – Son of God and Zaccheus – sinner and a tax collector. How could they be more mismatched?

We’ve all seen unlikely pairs get together before. I can’t help but think about Baxter Black’s story concerning team roping. “You can always tell a header from a heeler in team roping,” according to Black. “The header has ulcers and the heeler has a hangover. The header tells you the lineage of his horse. The heeler tells you the lineage of his tack. He goes on to tell about how the header wears a sharply shaped Resistol and the healer wears a dirty feed store cap. But they both agree on one thing. When they miss, it’s always the header’s fault.”

You would think they would hate each other – but they didn’t – they were not alike at all – but they were friends. Why? They were so different in so many ways. But if we notice, Jesus reached out to sinners. He reached out to folks who knew they didn’t measure up. And we can see from the verses that Zaccheus had come to the realization that he didn’t measure up. He had taken what rightfully belonged to his fellow man, callin’ it collectin’ taxes, when he knew it wasn’t his. And like all of us, it is certain he had other sins to confess and repent from as well.

And Jesus invited himself over to his house. He isn’t just trying to win a lost person. He’s not just witnessing to a guy at the feed store or the coffee shop. He is becoming his friend.

Simply put, Jesus befriends sinful people. Jesus knows them. He goes into their homes and their work place. He eats at their table. He visited with them. He knew their dreams and their failures.

When you invite Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, He causes you to want to reach out to others, and not just fellow believers. But you reach out to the lost because you can’t imagine them going through eternity without Christ. You don’t want them to spend an eternity in hell.

Jesus intentionally developed real friendships. He calls us to do the same. Be a friend of sinners. We all need a friend, and Jesus has the best friendship plan ever developed. His friends become part of the family. He is my friend, I’d like to tell you how He can be yours.

Choose Jesus and choose life. Find a church where you “fit in” and serve him and grow in Christ. See y’all at church and keep prayin’ for his harvest. Amen.

Wes Kinder



Reach Wes Kinder at 580-585-3443 or

Reach Wes Kinder at 580-585-3443 or

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