‘This man receiveth sinners.’ Whatever other men may do, this man, this one, this one alone if no other with him, this one beyond all other teachers, however gentle and compassionate—‘this man receiveth sinners.’ He will speak and tell out his mysteries too, even when sinful ears are listening, for he receives sinners as disciples, as well as his hearers. If they come casually into the throng, his eye glances upon them, and he has a word of gentle rebuke, and wooing love; but if they will come and join the class who cluster constantly about him, they shall be thoroughly welcome, and the deeper and higher truths reserved for disciples shall be revealed to them, and they shall know the mystery of the kingdom. When he has cleansed sinners, he receives them not only as disciples, but as companions. This man permits the guilty, the once profane, the lately debauched, and formerly dissolute, to associate themselves with him, to wear his name, to sit in his house, to be written in the same book of life as himself. He makes them here partakers with him in his affliction, and hereafter they shall be partakers with him in his glory. This man receives pardoned sinners into companionship. More, he receives them as friends. The head that leaned upon him was a sinner’s head, and those who sat at the table with him, to whom he said, ‘Henceforth I call you not servants; … I have called you friends,’ were all of them sinners, as they felt themselves to be. She who bore him, she who ministered to him of her substance, she who washed his feet with tears, she who was first at his empty sepulchre, all these were sinners, and some of them sinners emphatically. Into his heart’s love he receives sinners.
For meditation: The humility of the Lord Jesus Christ in receiving sinners is in stark contrast to the pride of sinners who refuse to receive him, the sinless Lord of glory (Luke 9:53; John 1:11). What a difference mutual receiving makes (John 1:12).