Observe the condescension of this fact. Jesus, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, who towers above all other men—this Man receives sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receives sinners. It requires an angel's tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us would be willing to reach the lost is nothing wonderful—they are, after all, our own race; but that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon Himself the form of a servant and bear the sin of many and be willing to receive the worst of sinners—this is marvelous.
"This man receives sinners"; not in order for them to remain sinners, but He receives them in order that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and enable them to serve Him, show forth His praise, and have communion with Him. Into His heart's love He receives sinners; He takes them from the refuse pile and wears them as jewels in His crown; He snatches them like branches from the fire and preserves them as costly monuments to His mercy. None are so precious in Jesus' sight as the sinners for whom He died.
When Jesus receives sinners, He does not have an outdoor reception, no public square where He charitably entertains them in the way men treat passing beggars, but He opens the golden gates of His royal heart and receives the sinner right into Himself. He admits the humble penitent into personal union and makes Him a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is certain. Even this evening, He is still receiving sinners: It is our prayer that sinners will receive Him.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.