Friend to sinners
who will cast the first stone..
It must have been torture. The dry dust choking out her words. The bitter sting of her tears turning her eyes into raw blaze orbits. The harsh ground digging into her skin, tearing her knees and hands to shreds. Fear creeping over her like a heavy black cloud hovering just over her head. Paralyzed in the fear of the words that seemed an eternity to emit from this man's vocal cords; the roars of her persecutors rang in her ears like a thousand explosions erupting in her head. Her very life was hanging in the balance, and her fate now lie in the hands of this man. The seconds and minutes dragged on endlessly as she waited on the verdict. "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." As the crowd dropped their rocks and began scuffling away, I imagine it took a few minutes at least for it to dawn on Mary Magdaline that she had been spared. But he did spare her life. Jesus forgave her for the things her accusers had charged her with. Not only did he forgive her, but he allowed her to continue being in his life from that moment forward. Right up until Christ had been "witnessed" after being put in the tomb, Mary was in his close circle of friends.
The pharisees watched in disapproving manner at the idea of Jesus coming into the home of a sinner and having a meal. They scorned and scoffed over the day as a whole. Who was this Jesus to be attending a party at this man's home? How did Jesus respond? "A well man has no need for a physician" Then again, what a disgrace that Jesus allowed this harlot to come in and clean his feet and dress them with her vial of oil. Jesus was quick to point out that the religious leaders, did not greet him as friendly when he entered the house, they did not extend him the courtesy of a place to wash his feet, yet the woman washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, she anointed them with her own oil and kissed him with great sincerity.
There are many stories in the bible where the haughty religious behaved in unseemly manner such as the event where Jesus was angered and overturned the change table. And others whereby Jesus spent time with the poor, the needy, and the lost; aptly referred to as the sinners.
Jesus came to save the lost, to redeem the sinner, and to teach what agape love truly means. If we think we are unworthy of his grace, we may well be. But Jesus didn't come to this earth to hand pick the ones that were worthy and qualified and good enough for heaven; he came to earth to pick us all. Being religious and following the rules and regulations of any religious organization makes one person no more saved by grace than another. On our own, we can't be good enough; nor can we be too good for heaven. It is not a game about who can be the best, make the best impression, or who paints the best picture of what a christian should look like.
Because Jesus loves us and died for us while we are still sinners does not imply that he wants us to continue being that way. The thing about grace and salvation is that while Jesus does not put all the rules and regulations on our relationship with him that man tends to make, the desire to love Jesus and live for him will, in its own, cause a shift in one's heart that will move them to change. "Take off the old man and put on the new," is not a term that those who fully accept the love of Jesus take lightly. It's not about changing who you are, it's about the changes you want to make that will share the love of Jesus with everyone around you.
As long as time has and will exist, man will have their own idea of what a perfect christian is. Don't turn your back on Jesus simply because you turn your back on the church. The church was never intended to be an institution, an organization, or a building in the first place. The church as Jesus established it, was simply a group of disciples who went out into the world, hanging out with the sinners, and sitting at the same dinner table or attending the same events , and teaching them about the love of God. Hate the sin but love the sinner. Jesus was a friend to sinners. Let him be an example to us all.