July 8, 2009

Walter Chantry on the Mutual Attraction Between Jesus and Sinners

...Christ energetically and persistently went in search of sinners with an insatiable desire to find them.
Walter J. Chantry, "The Mutual Attraction Between Jesus and Sinners," Banner of Truth 494 (November 2004): 28.
Jesus is like the injured Father who ran to meet his lost son and, upon meeting him, fell on his neck with kisses. Jesus is like the father who leaves the party that delights his heart to go outside and to plead with the obstinate 'scribe and Pharisee sinner' to join the merrymaking over sinner(s) who have returned.
Ibid.: 29.
I am afraid that too many, like the scribes and Pharisees, see sinners as bothersome. We are attempting to build a 'clean' society and they are in the way. They disrupt our programme and dirty the landscape. But they are torn asunder by their sins and taken captive by the wicked one at his will. Is there no loving pity for sinners? Their humanity is utterly shattered by their own sin.
Our Saviour's heart is drawn out to these scenes of lost humanity. He has an urge to be near the broken specimens known as sinners. We say that we want to imitate our Lord Jesus. Surely if we begin to be more like him, we too will desire to spend time with sinners, to be fishers of men, to labour at recovering lost humanity. The Saviour's high purpose in coming into the world was 'to seek and save that which was lost'. How can we be like him and not share that purpose to some extent?
Ibid.: 30.
Evangelism of sinners is very close to the core of his heart of love.
Ibid.: 31.
Never does God take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:32, 33:11). The last-mentioned verse declares that God's pleasure arises from seeing the wicked turn from his way to live.
Even as Jesus rejoiced in the recovery of the lost, he showed compassion upon the benighted scribes and Pharisees. He took time to seek out Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Simon (Luke 7), and others. Not only did he eat with sinners, Jesus also ate with Pharisees and scribes in order to win them.
When Jesus walked on earth, sinners and publicans sensed something of that lovingkindness and compassion. Thus they kept coming to him. They would not approach the scribes and Pharisees, because these men had an uncaring, critical spirit toward them. Our Lord's love for sinners drew them to his ministry. It appealed to sinners to arise and return home. Oh, may God give us such an imitation of Christ's love that we may be effective evangelists for his glorious kingdom!

Ministers especially are called to represent the Saviour to sinners, not only in words but in disposition. The clergy (scribes and Pharisees then) should display a desire to be near to sinners, a compassion for sinners, a joy in recovering the lost, a pleading with the most obdurate sinners.
Ibid.: 32.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Tony. I like what I've read by Walter Chantry, but I might not have expected such strong statements from him on Jesus' love for sinners. Thanks!