Athlete, Love Sinners


Athlete, Love Sinners

Jason Cooper

Luke 5:32 (ESV)

I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

Imagine if you were at a formal dinner in the house of the most notable Christian you know, and a notoriously immoral student from campus showed up.

That happened in Jesus’ day.

Jesus was invited to dinner by one of the most religious, pious people in town. Everyone was on their best behavior.

But a woman, “who had lived a sinful life in that town” showed up (Luke 7:37). She brought a jar of perfume and stood behind Jesus weeping. She began to wet His feet with tears.

It gets better: She wiped His feet with her hair, kissed His feet and poured perfume on them.

Back to your formal dinner. Imagine the notoriously immoral person making a brazen disclosure of her fervor for God as did the woman in this passage. You might think, “This is outlandish. She doesn’t even belong here, and she’s doing this kooky thing.”

But Jesus would stop you.

We should love this about Jesus.

“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance,” means Jesus is for the immoral.

There is a glitch that can come with our Christian attitudes, which Jesus exposes.

We may think we are “in” because we conform to the norms in a certain Christian culture. We might take great pride in our sound doctrine and uprightness.

We might find rest in our appearances, behavior and our Christianese language. The Pharisees were like that.

I think if we hung out with Jesus regularly He would shock us. He would treat those we think of as outside God’s favor with swift grace. We would think, “Jesus, what are you doing? Don’t you know who is in and who is out?”

Jesus would often challenge our sensibilities. He would make us squeamish when He touched people’s oozing deformities and appeared to collude with sinners.

He broke the rules of the Pharisees. He would break many of our Christian rules too.

Athlete, it’s easy to be snobbish on campus about Christianity and God. You need to keep a few things in mind as you represent God on campus:

1. Remember in the Scriptures the unlikely and scandalous people God chose to help redeem the world.

2. God opposes the proud and exalts the humble.

3. Jesus did not look at people and see only their sinful acts, but He saw their inherent value as people created in His image and had compassion for them.

Athlete, embrace the notoriously immoral person who shows up at the dinner, because that is what Jesus does to you.


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