Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Heart of a Friend


By: Donna Bucher

Saturated with illustrations, the four Gospels pour forth a vivid picture of the heart of Christ for sinners.

Twice in the Gospels we find Jesus weeping. Yet in these displays of anguish, what His heart reveals refers not to His own pain, but the pain of others.

Time after time Christ’s compassion gravitates towards the undesirable, disgusting, undeserving members of society; those marginalized and ostracized. Culminating in His enemies’ labeling Him as “a friend of sinners”. (Luke 7:34)


But what arrests our attention upon reading the Gospel accounts is the manner in which Jesus interacts. He unreservedly touches, heals, forgives, even embraces those who stand most unworthy. 

We have the head knowledge of why Jesus came to earth. We celebrate the birth of the Messiah at Christmas, somberly stand witness to His death on a Roman cross and rejoice at the miracle of the resurrection.

Yet how often do we actually contemplate the full magnitude of Jesus’ mission on earth?

Jesus Christ, the express image of God the Father, (Colossians 1:15) walked this earth in the midst of all of its brokenness, disease, and sin.

The Gospels distinctly testify when Christ saw the brokenness of this world, His inmost desire was to move toward sin and suffering, not away from it.

Think about that; really think about it in terms of Old Testament law regarding things clean and things unclean.


The Book of Leviticus details numerous categories of uncleanness, most of which refer to moral impurity cleansed only by animal sacrifice.

Jesus, God in human form, was the cleanest person ever on earth.

Can you comprehend the complete purity, holiness, innocence, and loveliness of His mind?

Jesus, who kept every jot and tittle of the law, completely undefiled, when He encountered lepers and prostitutes, touched them.

Jesus, moved toward the defiled, filthy, sinful creatures full of compassion, wholly compelled to reverse all the Fall had stolen and profaned.

His very nature governed every impulse of His unblemished, benevolent heart; He could not do otherwise.

Reversing the entire Jewish system, the only completely clean person touched unclean sinners.

In so doing, Christ was not defiled, as biblical law stated.

To the contrary, the unclean became clean by His touch.

Not only did Jesus touch the uncleanness of sinners, He touched their suffering, their diseases, the very things which made them outcasts of society.

And these outcasts welcomed Jesus’ touch, His compassion, for they knew their need and helpless estate. While the self-righteous stood scorning afar off, relying instead on the works of the law for justification.

The Heart of a Friend

 Scandalously, Jesus unexpectedly loved those others deemed “unlovable”.


Allowing what most agree was a prostitute in Luke 7:36-50, touch Him and wash His feet with her tears, drinking water with the “woman at the well” in John4:1-41 and allowing a bleeding woman from Mark 5:25-34 touch Him, Jesus shocked everyone with His compassion towards women. 

In stepping towards those marginalized, outcasts of society, Jesus did more than heal infirmities. He genuinely saw them as priceless treasures, saw right through all of the ugliness of their suffering and the filth of their sin.

Jesus, the friend who loves at all times, loved the unlovely, without repulsion, judgment or condemnation.

Jesus fully knew the depth of sin’s cost, the consequences of the Fall, and every sorrow we experience. Yet He moves ever closer, His heart bound up with ours.

Jesus, though without sin, understands our condition because He is touched with our infirmities, tempted as we are tempted. (Hebrews 4:15)

Despised, rejected and betrayed, by His own people, His heart mirrors our anguish.

From this place, He reaches out, meeting us where we sit, at times unwanted, abandoned and hopelessly paralyzed by our sin.

The deeper we sink into pain, anguish, suffering, and sin, the deeper Christ draws us into His own heart, not away from it.

No matter what keeps you marginalized today, whether lies and mistreatment of others, physical pain, chronic illness, or the weight of too many wrong and sinful choices, come to Jesus, the friend who loves at all times.

This Lenten season, as you meditate on His journey to the cross, every step of the way touching, healing, forgiving those who came to Him; rejoice, for He came for you, choosing you to be accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)

Reflection Questions:

How does your focus on acceptance keep you from fully allowing Jesus to enter into your pain?

If you are struggling with feelings of abandonment today, how can you move closer to Jesus for true healing and acceptance?

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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