Jesus Friend Of Sinners
By: Pastor Charles Novak
By the standard of today, if we were to consider that Jesus would chose another twelve Disciples
we would think that they would be murderers, thieves, prostitutes and the like. But even if we were
to look at the the twelve disciples that Jesus chose nearly two thousands years ago, the words
spoke about them would still be very similar if not identical to our words today.
The Bible shows us how the people of Jesus day viewed the actions of Jesus with the Disciples He
chose (Mark 2:13-17 ESV) “He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to
him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the
tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at
table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for
there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was
eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and
sinners?" And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a
physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
We also think of the tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10 NIV) “Jesus entered Jericho and was
passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was
wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the
crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that
way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down
immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But
Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions
to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of
You see those who looked at Jesus and seen His actions as sinful were actually the people who
viewed themselves as not having any sin, yes they seen what they considered as sin in others, but
failed to see the sin that is right in them. When I say this it bring to my mind the Bible Verse about
the plank in the eye (Matthew 7:1-6 ESV) “"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the
judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to
you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your
own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is
the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see
clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw
your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
Lets take a look at some of the Disciples that Jesus choose.......
Peter:.......Peter was a fisherman by trade and a professional at his job. Peter is the first to be called
by Jesus as a disciple. (Luke 5:1-11 ESV) “On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on
him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by
the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of
the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and
taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into
the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and
took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they
enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the
other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to
sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am
a sinful man, O Lord." For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that
they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." And when
they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”
But what about Peters over all personality ? Every personality has gifts. When those gifts are
taken to an extreme, they can become weaknesses, or they can become terrible. Peter had his share
of personality issues. Peter was a brash (rude cocky and arrogant), talkative, impulsive man who
nevertheless loved Jesus. His faults are seen as he learned and worked with Jesus. Like many
other people, he bites off more than he can chew, is extremely optimistic – to the extreme of being
naive, and speaks without thinking. Now let me say that this kind of speech was common of
fisherman in those times, sort of like we say today that a person speaks like a truck driver.
What about his downfalls ?
Well he was the one who stated he would never deny knowing Jesus, yet before the next morning he
had denied Him 3 times. (Matthew 26:69-75) “Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And
a servant girl came up to him and said, "You also were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it
before them all, saying, "I do not know what you mean." And when he went out to the entrance,
another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, "This man was with Jesus of
Nazareth." And again he denied it with an oath: "I do not know the man." After a little while the
bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays
you." Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the man." And
immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, "Before the rooster
crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.”
He was the one who boldly stepped out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But
before he reached the Lord, he realized his faith wasn’t as great as he thought, and he started to
sink. (Matthew 14:24-31 ) “but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the
waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them,
walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and
said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take
heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to
you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came
to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save
me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little
faith, why did you doubt?"
When Jesus stated that He was going to be killed, Peter rebuked Him and said that should
never be. But Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me satan!” (Matthew 16: 21-23) “From that
time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the
elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took
him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to
you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you
are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter rashly drew a sword and cut off the
ear of the high priest’s slave. (John 18:4-10) “Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him,
came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to
them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, "Whom do you
seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So, if you seek
me, let these men go." This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: "Of those whom you gave
me I have lost not one." Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's
servant and cut off his right ear.”
When John and Peter came to the empty tomb on Easter morning, John respectfully stood at the
doorway. But not Peter! He rushed right in, saw the situation, then turned and ran home, terrified.
(John 20:3-10 ) “So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.
Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter
came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face
cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by
itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and
believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the
disciples went back to their homes.
Now lets take a look at Matthew
Matthew was a dishonest tax collector driven by greed until Jesus Christ chose him as
a disciple. When we first see Matthew in Capernaum, in his tax booth on the main highway. He was
collecting taxes on imported goods brought by farmers, merchants, and caravans. Under the Roman
Empire's system, Matthew would have paid all the taxes in advance, then collected from the citizens
and travelers to reimburse himself. Now tax collectors were notoriously corrupt because they
extorted far and above more tax money than what was owed, to ensure their personal financial
And because their decisions were enforced by the Roman soldiers, no one dared to question or
object to the over taxation. As a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek. His
fellow Jews would have despised him for what was seen as collaborating with the Romans, who
were viewed as a occupying force.
Lets look at the calling of Matthew
(Matthew 9:9-13) “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax
booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at
table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and
his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher
eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no
need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners."
Even though the disciples were sinners, just as we are today, through Jesus and with Jesus they
would change their life styles dramatically. It is from these changes that they were the closest to
Jesus and went on to write, preach and teach the Word of God and the truth of Jesus the Christ.
Well what kind of changes did they make ? Lets take a look at some of their changes.
Peter.......As numerous as Peter’s issues were, Jesus saw genius in Peter. He chose Peter and made
him a part of the inner circle. You see Jesus knew with training and guidance, Peter would become
the significant leader we know about today. Peter was one of the few apostles who saw the
transfigured Jesus. To be transfigured means to to change in outward form or appearance, to
transform. We read this in (Matthew 17:1-8 ESV) “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and
James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was
transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And
behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord,
it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses
and one for Elijah." He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a
voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and
touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one
but Jesus only.”
With training, Peter’s gift of idly talking was tamed and he became a great preacher, (Acts 2:14
ESV) “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: "Men of Judea
and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.” This was at
Pentecost when the people thought that the those in the upper room were drunk when they had
receives the Gift of the Holy Spirit and were all speaking in tongues.
Jesus called on Peter’s leadership gifts when he was given the responsibility to shepherd the people
of God. (John 21:15-17 ESV) “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I
love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do
you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my
sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved
because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know
everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.”
Peter’s previous fear and inconsistency were honed into confidence. He stood up to leaders he once
had hid from, he healed the blind, he inspired crowds with his words, and he led many people to
Christ. (Acts 2:14 ESV) “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed
them: "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my
(Acts 4:31 ESV) “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was
shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with
Peter’s gifts were used by Jesus when debatable concepts had to be introduced to former Jewish
believers. Peter had the boldness and strength of character to stand up against those who were in
agreeance with the current state of things in Jerusalem. Particularly, that the former dietary rules of
the Jews no longer applied, (Acts 10:9-15 ESV) “The next day, as they were on their journey and
approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became
hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw
the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners
upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a
voice to him: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten
anything that is common or unclean."And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God
has made clean, do not call common."
What about Matthew ?.......Well he served as one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. And as an
eyewitness to the Savior, Matthew recorded a detailed account of Jesus' life, the story of his birth,
Jesus Gospel message and the many deeds that Jesus did are in the Gospel of Matthew. He also
served as a missionary, spreading the good news to other countries. Significantly Matthew went
from a stealing tax collector to one of the great authors of the Bible.
The Book of Matthew presents many important facts and significant lessons. First, it clearly
establishes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah that was prophesied throughout the Old Testament.
Second, it proves that Jesus was the Son of God, whom He claimed to be through living a sinless
and perfect life. Third, the Gospel records Jesus performing miracles over nature (calming the
storm; Matthew 8:23-27), healing people (curing the servant; Matthew 8:5-13) and raising the dead
(Jairus' daughter; Matthew 9:18-19). Fourth, Jesus personally gives over 200 real and practical
lessons of how God desires people to live, respond through challenging circumstances, and make
choices regarding their future for eternity. A few examples of these include: having faith (Matthew
9:29), dealing with fear (Matthew 8:26), God answering prayers (Matthew 8:2), the promise of
salvation (Matthew 10:22), obeying God (Matthew 15:19), loving your neighbor (Matthew 19:19),
sacrificing (Matthew 20:22), resolving legal issues (Matthew 5:25), how to give to others (Matthew
6:2), forgiving others that sin against you (Matthew 6:14), resisting temptation (Matthew 4:2), being
a hypocrite (Matthew 23:28), acknowledging Christ (Matthew 10:32), and the image of Heaven and
Hell (Matthew 13:49, 50). Every word spoken and written in this Gospel can be applied to life in a
practical manner. The last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew specifies the calling of all disciples of
Christ, otherwise known as The Great Commission, (Matthew Matthew 28:19-20) "Go therefore
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you
always, to the end of the age." This is the mission of all Christians that have a faithful commitment
to Jesus Christ. It is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world and teach the lessons that
Jesus wants to take sinners and through beliefe in Him Save them form themselves and use them for
the Glory of His name. He will not turn any of us away, remember (John 6:37 ESV) "All that the
Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." The lord
promises in John 6:37 that anyone, that means ANYBODY, who comes to Him will not be turned
away. Jesus didn't stipulate any exclusions. The Lord didn't make a list of people who don't qualify
to come to Him. Anyone may come to Jesus! Just as with the 12 Disciples that Jesus chose Himself,
they were all sinners as we are all today. And through the saving Grace of Jesus they went on to do
the work that they were made to do.If you think that for a second that because of sin in your life
that you cannot serve the Lord you are wrong.
God creates every person for a specific assignment on earth; to good works ordained before you are created.
Moses - God created Moses for only one assignment on earth; to bring out the children of Israel
from Egypt. (Exodues 3:10)
Joshua - God created Joshua for only one assignment on earth; to lead the children of Israel across
river Jordan into the Promised Land. Joshua was the man created by God to take over after Moses.
(Joshua 1:1-2 )
David - God created David to shepherd and be a warrior to the children of Israel. (2 Sam 7:8) and (1 King 2:11)
Solomon was created and placed on this earth to build the temple. (2 Sam 7:12-13) (1 Kings 6:14)
Jeremiah was created and placed on earth to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5)
Jonah was created to take repentance message to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2)
John the Baptist was created for only one assignment on earth; a voice in the wilderness to prepare
the way for Jesus. (Matthew 3:1-2) (Isiah 40:3) (Matthew 3:3)
Paul was created to take the gospel to gentiles (Acts 9:15) (Acts 13:46-47)
All these people in the Bible accomplished their assignments on earth and God gave them rest in His kingdom.
So what can we take home for this ? I think it is clear to say that Jesus wants sinners to come to
Him and through Him become exactly what He has made them to be. You see God has taken the
very lowest sinners of society and made them the hightest in His kingdom. Jesus is truly the friend
of sinners, you and i both. Let God do in our lives, what he has done in the lives of His disciples
and many others. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise. Some animals run, some
jump, some swim, some dig, and some fly. Each has a particular role to play based on the way they
were shaped by God. The same is true with humans. Each of us is uniquely designed, or "shaped,"
to do certain things.
Before architects design any new building they first ask, "What will be its purpose? How will it be
used?" The intended function always determines the form of the building.
Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly
how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are
because you were made for a specific ministry.
Remember the Bible says in,(Ephesians 2:10 NIV) "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus to do good works." Our English word "poem" comes from this Greek word translated
"workmanship." You're God's handcrafted work of art. You're not an assembly-line product, mass-
produced without thought. You're a custom designed, one-of-a-kind, an original masterpiece.
God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique. He
carefully mixed the DNA recipe that created you. David praised God for this incredible personal
attention to detail God gave in designing each of us, as we see in (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT) "You
made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you
for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous"
Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his
shaping process. David continues to say in, (Psalm 139:16 NLT) "Every day of my life was
recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed"
This means nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold you for your
ministry to others and shape you for your service to him. God never wastes anything. He would not
give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use
them for his glory.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent
His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal
Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the
punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly
believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord,"
you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.
Dear God: Today, give me the courage to live the life You’ve called me to with the same confidence
as we have that the sun will rise at each new day. Please help me to walk away
from roles and expectations that other people have for me, and to live in peace with the exact way
You created me — on purpose and for a purpose. In Jesus Precious Holy Name, i Pray these and all